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Die Publikationen auf Deutsch

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TV and Radio for 1999

G.Yavlinsky's speeches and interviews 1998-9

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December 17, 2011

Yabloko Activist Arrested at an Opposition Rally
LI News Bulletin, Issue 263, December 16, 2011

Konstantin Smirnov, one of the leaders of the Ryazan branch of Yabloko (LI full-member) was arrested for 7 days for allegedly “disobeying the lawful orders of the police” for participation in the “For Fair Elections” rally organized in Ryazan on December 8. Such an act was clearly politically motivated as a video of Simonov's detention shows that he did not disobey police orders. This follows the biggest protests organized since the collapse of the Soviet Union over the highly disputed Parliamentary elections in the country which took place last week. The leader of Yabloko, Sergei Mitrokhin, has asked the Head of the Central Electoral Commission, Vladimir Churov, to voluntarily leave his post saying “it is Churov who is personally responsible for the scope of the fraud that took place in the country on the voting day.” LI Vice-President on the Bureau and Chair of LI Human Rights Committee, Abir Al-Sahlani MP, was part of an OSCE election observer mission in Russia and witnessed first-hand the mass violations committed during the electoral process.

December 12, 2011

YABLOKO successful despite electoral fraud and intimidations
ELDR Press Release, December 8, 2011.

Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Russia in which the share of the vote for the ruling United Russia party fell to below 50% and the protests that have been taking place the last few days in which increasing numbers of people have been making their feelings known about the lack of free and fair elections provide signs of hope for the free and democratic future of Russia, not only that Russian people are fed up with the current regime, but also that they are willing to be more out spoken and to show their displeasure with the way the elections were conducted.

However, the voting and counting procedures themselves were riddled with claims of fraud, corruption and intimidation. ELDR member party YABLOKO was the only democratic opposition party allowed to participate and, as such, its activists and voters were subjected to high levels of intimidation and restrictions. Election observers faced a similar set of circumstances and the OSCE has reported fraudulent procedural violations and instances of apparent manipulations, including serious indications of ballot box stuffing...

Liberal Statement on the Election in Russia
Statement by the Liberal Party of Canada, December 8, 2011

OTTAWA— Liberal Leader Bob Rae made the following statement today on the recent election in Russia: "The people of Russia have voted and have sent a strong message rejecting the kind of one-party political domination that United Russia has been trying to implement. The election results and the subsequent protests demonstrate the need for the Russian political process to be opened up to allow for the creation of an effective opposition that would provide voters with a meaningful alternative rather than the ideological alternatives of communists and nationalists. The Liberal Party calls on authorities to ensure that a viable political space is opened up for an opposition that is fully committed to democracy."

Liberal Foreign Affairs critic Dominic LeBlanc continued: "The recent election results, with incredible outcomes of more than 90% of the population voting for United Russia in some regions, have demonstrated how much more needs to be done to build an effective democracy in Russia. A strong commitment to making democracy work from all the major political forces in Russia can lead to positive change for the Russian people. We are also concerned with the tactics being used to deal with political demonstrations. As we have seen on repeated occasions this year legitimate protest cannot be effectively stifled by force. We believe that it is important that Russians be given the opportunity to express their commitment to building a democratic Russia"...

December 9, 2011

"Russian Elections Showed Many Shortcomings…" says LI VP Abir Al-Sahlani
LI News Bulletin, Issue 262, December 9, 2011

Returning from an OSCE election observer mission in Russia, LI Vice-President on the Bureau, Abir Al-Sahlani, expressed a great concern about the way in which the recent Parliamentary elections were conducted in the country. She commented saying "democracy is not only about the election day itself but also about the process before, during and after the elections. The situation is worrisome and it will require closer attention, especially with the upcoming presidential elections in March 2012." Yabloko (LI full-member) leader, Sergei Mitrokhin, also dismissed the election results as illegitimate due to the mass violations committed during the electoral process. Based on these results Yabloko obtained only around 3 % of the popular vote thus falling 4% short of making it to the State Duma or the Russian Parliament. Mitrokhin was detained by the Russian riot police at an opposition rally in Moscow but was later released after showing his certificate of candidate to the State Duma (until the official announcement of the election results candidates can be detained only with a Prosecutor's order).

December 8, 2011

SCHUSTER: Putin spaltet mit Gewalt statt mit Reformen zu einen
FDP Press Release, December 7, 2011.

BERLIN. Anlässlich der Festnahmen von hunderten Demonstranten in Russland erklärt die Sprecherin für Menschenrechte und humanitäre Hilfe der FDP-Bundestagsfraktion Marina SCHUSTER:

Das Vorgehen russischer Sicherheitskräfte gegen friedliche oppositionelle Demonstranten verurteilt die FDP-Bundestagsfraktion auf das Schärfste. Die vorübergehenden Festnahmen des früheren Vize-Regierungschefs Boris Nemzow, des Oppositionspolitikers Sergej Mitrochin von der liberalen Jabloko-Partei sowie die Inhaftierung von Journalisten und Menschenrechtlern sind eine weitere Stufe der Unterdrückung von menschenrechtlichen Grundprinzipien in Russland. Während Putin noch vor und während der jüngsten Wahl zur Duma versucht hatte, mit zahlreichen Manipulationen und Einschüchterungen die "Wahlen" zu seinen Gunsten zu entscheiden, bekämpft er nun mit offener Gewalt die Bestrebungen der Demonstranten für mehr Demokratie und Rechtstaatlichkeit.
Die Kader der Regierungspartei Einiges Russland mit Putin und Medwedew an der Spitze zeigen ihr wahres Gesicht und bekämpfen die Rechte auf Meinungs- und Versammlungsfreiheit sowie körperliche Unversehrtheit durch Festnahmen und Repressionen. So schaffen Putin und Medwedew weder Stabilität noch Vertrauen in Russland, sondern zeigen wie hoch nervös sie in Wahrheit sind. Sie fürchten den berechtigten Zorn der Bürger... MORE

December 7, 2011

YABLOKO has evidence of election fraud
CNN news, Video in English. December 6, 2011.

December 5, 2011

Observer from the communist party: YABLOKO obtained over 19 per cent but their votes were spread between other parties
Gazeta.ru, December 5, 2011.

Natalya Yarigina, observer from the COPRF (the communist party) in polling station No 2637 in Moscow, was detained by the police after she refused to redistribute YABLOKO’s votes between United Russia, CPRF and Just Russia parties and then called head of the electoral commission a “groveller”, Yarigina told to Gazeta.ru.

“Head of the commission Nadezhda Gazina attacked me with fists when I asked her if she like to be a groveller. Then her husband joined her. They were pulled off by the students who were with us at the polling station. Gazina complained on me at the police stating that I had allegedly beaten her, now I am taken to the police department and they are going to file a criminal case against me,” Yarigina said.

According to Yarigina, head of the electoral commission offered a bribe to all the members of the electoral commission in exchange for their “help” in counting of the votes given for YABLOKO in favour of other parties passing into the State Duma. “She explained us that everything had been determined already and nothing depended on us, and this made me revolt. At our polling station YABLOKO obtained 19.2 per cent. However, they probably do not have it now already,” added the detained...

Police is ousting into the street observers preventing stuffing of faked bulletins in favour of the ruling party in a Moscow polling station
Gazeta.ru, December 5, 2011.

Nine hours after the voting at polling station No 2648 at Ramenki street, Moscow, was finished, policemen who refused to give their names, ousted observers with a consultative voice from the polling station, Alexandra Borisova, one of the observers, told to Gazeta.ru.

“Throughout all this time we have been preventing stuffing in of [faked] 182 ballots in favour of the [ruling] United Russia. Consequently, after Svetlana Makskova, head of the local electoral commission, called the police Sergei Ovchinnikov, representative of a territorial electoral commission came and ordered the police to throw us behind the door,” Borisova told. According to her, after the first counting of the votes, the first place is taken by the CPRF, the second is shared by United Russia and YABLOKO, but the electoral commission refuses to approve the final results of the voting. “Now they are preparing to stuff in [faked bulletins in favour of the ruling party]. In addition to 182 bulletins we have detected, we suspect that they are ready for a mass-scale fraud. There are 2,017 voters registered at the polling station, and 1,800 bulletins were taken. According to our estimations, 958 people have voted since the beginning of the voting. And only 294 bulletins were left, the question is where over 400 bulletins are gone,” Borisova said...

December 2, 2011

"Putin has been in power for 12 years already and is going to stay for another 12-year term. How do you like it?"
RBC Daily, December 1, 2011. Interview with Grigory Yavlinsky by Olga Zhermeleva

Grigory Yavlinsky: Corruption and lawlessness reached such a scope that the gap between the society and the state became only broader. And in Russia revolutions and coups d’etat happen exactly when the gap between the society and the state becomes deep, not during wars or famine or epidemics. Such was the case in 1917 and 1991. A disruption and a disaster. And not one comes into the streets to protest when the state disappears. And then a republic emerges on the place of an empire. And everyone is happy. And then the republic is taken over by bandits who set a dictatorship for 80 years.

Question: And is radicalisation of the views and a new coup d’etat possible today?

Grigory Yavlinsky: No, there will be no coup d’etats. A collapse is more likely. The regime cannot help getting weaker. When a wall is falling down you can try and prop it, but when all the bricks are falling down – it can not be helped.

Veteran liberal Grigory Yavlinsky to run for president in 2012
RIA Novosti, December 1, 2011.

MOSCOW, December 1 (RIA Novosti)-Russia's liberal Yabloko party has nominated its first leader and co-founder, Grigory Yavlinsky, to run for president in March next year.

Yabloko's co-leader Sergei Mitrokhin said Yavlinsky could be the main opposition coalition candidate but added that it was open for discussion.

"We do not wish to impose our candidate, we wish to offer discussion on all candidates at a primary election to which we invite all democratic parties and organizations," Mitrokhin told a news conference on Thursday...

November 29, 2011

Electoral Mutiny in TV Ad Ban

The Moscow Times, November 29, 2011

Campaign ads by opposition parties have been banned on state television by order of the head of the Central Elections Commission, who has no authority to do so, Vedomosti reported Monday.
Vladimir Churov's actions prompted a mutiny among the commission's working group, whose job is to review such videos, but which was only asked to do so after they were banned, the newspaper said.
State-owned broadcaster VGTRK announced last week that it was banning videos by Yabloko, A Just Russia and the Liberal Democrats following a letter from Churov, who said he suspected the ads promoted extremism and targeted other parties...

The original publication by the Moscow Times

Yabloko 'Veggies' Ad Banned by Metro

The Moscow Times, November 28, 2011

The head of the Moscow metro ordered election ads for the opposition party Yabloko to be removed from stations and then threatened to cancel a long-term contract with the advertising company involved, the political group claimed.
In a statement posted on its web site Friday, Yabloko — Russian for apple — said stickers reading: "Tired of vegetables? Vote for YABLOKO" that were posted Nov. 2 to 3 at the entrances to 85 stations were removed just days later.
The removal followed a letter from metro chief Ivan Besedin to the advertising company Avto Sell, saying the notices "grossly violated" conditions on political advertising, which require prior approval by metro officials and City Hall's media department...

The original publication by the Moscow Times

November 28, 2011

Former ALDE Group Leader elected ELDR President
Press Release, ALDE, November 25, 2011

Today Sir Graham Watson MEP (UK LibDem) was elected unopposed President of the party of European Liberal Democrats (ELDR) at their Congress in Palermo along with five vice-presidents (Marc Guerrero, Lousewies van der Laan, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, Leoluca Orlando, Astrid Thors). Graham takes over from Annemie Neyts (Open VLD, Belgium) who has led the Party since 2005.

Taking over the reins of the party in the middle of one of the most serious crises of Europe's history giving rise to increased euro scepticism and threatening the very foundation of the EU itself will present a major challenge for the Party which believes strongly in European integration and solidarity.

Commenting on his election, Watson said:
"What Europe is lacking most of all at present is a clear vision for the future. Neither the party of the European Socialists nor the Christian Democrats offer a solution. The former is stuck with an out of date ideology and the latter is ridden by internal contradictions. As Europeans we stand or fall together. We must not give in to the rising tide of populism"...

Sir Graham Watson new ELDR President!
ELDR Press Release, November 22, 2011.

Gathered in Palermo, Italy, the ELDR Party today elected Sir Graham Watson (Liberal Democrats, UK) to its new President for the coming two years!

In his speech, drawing on great liberal thinkers from Adam Smith to Johan Norberg, Sir Graham made a strong case for the need of liberal thought in today’s Europe, and the central place for the ELDR Party in this process. He promised to make ELDR stronger, smarter and the supranational force in Europe.

The ELDR Party also elected five Vice Presidents. While Marc Guerrero (CDC, Catalonia), Lousewies van der Laan (D 66, The Netherlands) and Leoluca Orlando (IDV, Italy) were re-elected for another term; Alexander Graf Lambsdorff (FDP, Germany) and Astrid Thors (SFP, Finland) are new additions to the ELDR Party Bureau.

All candidates were warmly welcomed by some 500 European Liberals gathered in Palermo. The ELDR Party would like to extend its congratulations to all elected!

November 18, 2011

Grigory Yavlinsky: High voter turnout will protect elections from vote-rigging

Interfax, November 16, 2011

ST. PETERSBURG. Nov 16 (Interfax) - Active involvement of voters in elections can be a barrier to the attempts to distort the results of the State Duma elections, said Grigory Yavlinsky, YABLOKO party key figure.

"If the turnout is high, the percentage of falsifications and manipulations will be much smaller," he said at the Interfax press conference in St. Petersburg on Wednesday.

He added that the result for his party will also depend on the turnout - the higher the turnout, the more votes and seats YABLOKO will be able to count on.

"In case of turnout over 60 per cent, we can count on a good result," he said.

Speaking of the party ticket in St. Petersburg, Yavlinsky said that in the city his party can count on higher support than average in Russia. "We can collect 15-17 per cent in St. Petersburg," he said...

November 15, 2011

Grigory Yavlinsky: Once I was told: “Let them elect you first, and then we will vote for you”
It is a bad principle. People must go and vote!

Novaya Gazeta, November 7, 2011

Interview with Grigory Yavlinsky, YABLOKO leader of election list, by Andrei Lipsky and Andrei Kolesnikov

Novaya Gazeta: But will the non-democratic protest electorate not vote for the Communists and the LDPR (Liberal Democratic Party of Russia)?

Yavlinsky: Yes, they will. They certainly will, and that is the problem. Open the Radio Liberty website. There is a poll: "Whom would you vote for next Sunday?" It goes approximately like this: 30% for YABLOKO, 28% "I will not vote," but 20% for the Communists.

Novaya Gazeta: The picture is approximately the same on our website.

Yavlinsky: That is the way it is going...

Novaya Gazeta: What is the nucleus of YABLOKO's electorate today and what additions can you count on from among other political forces?

November 14, 2011

YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin: "In a country with such elections participation in elections is a must"

Vedomosti, November 14, 2011

Interview with YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin by Maxim Glikin, Irina Novikova

Question: The so called tandem of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin lasted three years. Do you think this model was
Sergei Mitrokhin: It was effective for the participants in the tandem themselves. As a PR stunt, it was superb. For Russia, however, it turned out to be a waste because it availed Russia nothing at all. This show was a success only for the showmen themselves. It accomplished its purpose. Part of society was deceived and pinned its hopes on Medvedev. Time was wasted, time that could have been spent more productively, in search for a genuine alternative to Putin that would have consolidated society.
Question: And did Yabloko have faith in Medvedev as an alternative to Putin?
Sergei Mitrokhin: Never. We were constantly asked who we liked more, Medvedev or Putin. We always replied that we liked
neither because there was no difference between them...

Yavlinsky Calls on Russians to Take Part in Elections

Interfax, November 10, 2011

MOSCOW. Nov 10 (Interfax) - A high turnout in the upcoming parliamentary election in Russia will cut the scale of possible falsifications, Yabloko party top candidate Grigory Yavlinsky told a Thursday press conference at the Interfax main office.

"The higher turnout is and the more people take part in the ballot, the lesser falsifications will be," he said.

Yabloko is practically the only alternative to the incumbent authorities, Yavlinsky said. "Unfortunately, no other democratic parties or groups are registered - we have always said that the denial of their registration is a violation of civil rights - and there are no other representatives expressing European modern democratic political views on the voting papers. There is no one else but Yabloko," he said...

November 12, 2011

Time to Think, and Not to Lean on Russia. By Grigory Yavlinsky and Alexander Shishlov

The New York Times, November 8, 2011

...Yabloko has been active in Russian politics for almost 20 years. Fully aware of our responsibility to Russian citizens, who aspire to liberty and justice, our party has managed to survive and retain its potential against continuous and severe administrative pressure. Our work has been not only difficult, it has been dangerous, and in some cases fatal. Larisa Yudina, leader of the Yabloko branch in Kalmykia and a journalist, was killed; so were Farid Babayev, leader of Yabloko in Dagestan, and Yuri Shchekochikhin, a Duma deputy and investigative journalist who was investigating corruption in the secret services.

It is true that elections in Russia today are not free and fair. But this is due not only to the fact that Kasyanov’s party was denied registration and thus cannot take part in the elections. Russian elections ceased being free and fair after the presidential elections in 1996. Unfortunately, back then European liberals did not protest as loudly as they are doing now. (In fact, the electoral system was similarly defective in 2003 when Kasyanov was prime minister under President Vladimir Putin).

Today, however, this is how Russian elections are held and there are no other means for a peaceful, nonviolent change in political course and change of government. Liberals at Yabloko proceed from the premise that an outright rejection of all opportunities for peaceful change and the adoption of actions based on the principle that “it has to get worse before it gets better” is irresponsible and leads to a dead-end...

The original publication by the New York Times

RUSSIA DEMANDS CHANGES! Electoral Program for 2011 Parliamentary Elections.

Basic guidelines for 2011- 2016. Approved by the 16th Congress of the party on September 10, 2011

OUR GOAL. The main goal of the YABLOKO party is to build via peaceful and constitutional methods a modern law-based democratic and socially oriented state serving the needs of the people and ensuring Russia’s dynamic development...
YABLOKO is participating in the elections to the State Duma in order to represent the interests of Russia’s citizens, adopt laws that will bring the country closer to a law-based democratic and socially oriented state and abolish all legislation that obstructs such a goal...

November 5, 2011

Russian Opposition Parties' Election Registration Difficulties Reviewed

Kommersant, October 31, 2011

The official registration period is over in 19 of the 27 regions where elections to the parliaments of components of the Russian Federation will be held at the same time as the State Duma election on 4 December. Yabloko has had more difficulty collecting signatures than the other non-parliamentary parties, and it was not allowed to run in the elections in six of the federation components where its ticket was certified. The campaign in Mordvinia, where only three parties are registered, is the most controversial one. Parties are filing suit and complaining to the Central Electoral Commission in Chuvashia and Novgorod Oblast.

In most of the regions where local parliamentary elections will be held at the same time as the Duma election, the registration of candidates has been completed (in 14 regions last Friday). At this stage of the campaign, the locations where non-parliamentary parties will be able to run in the elections are already apparent.

Yabloko was denied registration in six regions -- Ingushetia, Maritime Territory, Stavropol Territory, Amur Oblast, Moscow Oblast, and Altay Territory. Its lists of candidates were registered in four regions -- Perm Territory, Samara and Astrakhan oblasts, and St. Petersburg. The registration deadline has not arrived yet in five of the regions where the Yabloko ticket was certified -- Karelia and Leningrad, Pskov, and Omsk oblasts...

November 2, 2011

Putin Awards Opposition Journalist. By Alexander Bratersky

The Moscow Times, November 2, 2011

...But the government needs to punish the attackers to prove it is serious, said Beketov's supporters, including Yabloko party leader Sergei Mitrokhin and Yevgenia Chirikova, who heads the campaign in defense of the forest.

"If they can give Misha back his leg and the third of his brain that got smashed away, I'm all in favor," an indignant Chirikova said Tuesday, according to Gazeta.ru.

"But if this is just a way of saying, 'Oh, what a nice Misha!' by the people who have created the system that crippled him, then this is cynicism, pure and simple," she said.

Mitrokhin said by phone that he was sad the authorities didn't think about Beketov until it was too late.

"The government didn't care about him when he was lying there dying in a Khimki hospital," said Mitrokhin, who helped to transfer Beketov to a better medical facility after the attack...

The original publication by the Moscow Times

From Democracy to Freedom. The Main Task of Political Changes in Russia Is To Disparage the Plebeianism of the People and the Authorities Alike. By Alexei Melnikov.

Gazeta.ru, October 31, 2011

The thesis in liberal political circles that there is insufficient democracy in Russia is something that is obvious in itself. But the main problem, on the contrary, is the absence of aristocratism and elitism, the blending of genres, persons, and institutions.

Everything is subordinated to a kind of uniform standard based on the power of money. On this altar scientific conscientiousness, the talents of journalists, and political reputations are sacrificed. And when some kind of moneybags ascends on the political horizon, a significant part of the political community begins to shake its little wings in excitement, in the hope that the golden dust will settle on them.

In point of fact, it was in this that the main content of the "Prokhorov phenomenon" and other similar appearances of big money in Russian politics lay. This is why the general picture is painted in a single colour with different hues -instead of freely flourishing complexity, we have the emulation of plebeianism in the very worst sense of this word...

Russia clamps down on opposition before elections. By Kathy Lally

The Washington Post, October 30, 2011

...Petlin, now 38 and the only Yabloko member in the 28-seat city Duma, kept battling the shopping center. On Aug, 26, his freedom was revoked and he was taken to pretrial Detention Center No. 1, which is so overcrowded, Bashkov said, that each cell holds twice its capacity. People sleep on the floor, or take turns on the beds. Tuberculosis and hepatitis are rampant. "We are talking about innocent people who haven't been tried," he said.

A few days ago, with prosecutors still unprepared to try him, Petlin's detention was extended until Dec. 22.

"I think he had an idea about the scale of the corruption," said Petlin's wife, Tatyana, "but none of us could even imagine this"...

The original publication by the Washington Post

October 21, 2011

Federal Security Service, hands off the students!

Grigory Yavlinsky's blog. Video. October 21, 2011

Yesterday’s developments at the Journalism Faculty of the Moscow State Lomonosov University mean idiotism which should not be repeated.

The fact that the security services work at the proposed meeting site of [of the President with the students] does not cause problems. The question is, what they do: whether they ensure safety or a nice television picture. Protesting students presented no danger to the head of state, and, judging by the information in the media, what was written on their placards was in line with the law.

These students may be a problem and a headache only for the ruling United Russia election headquarters (their electoral list is topped by the President), rather than for security services. And certainly, this "problem" should not be solved by means of detentions and preventive conversations in the police. I think that any distraction of the Federal Security Service from its main function is bad. It is harmful to the state.

October 17, 2011

Grigory Yavlinsky: 'Change Is Only Possible If There Is An Alternative'

RFE/RL, The Power Vertical, October 12, 2011

The Power Vertical: When you announced your return to politics you said you said that this was one of those moments when change was truly possible. That was before United Russia held its congress on September 24 and Vladimir Putin announced his intention to return to the presidency. Do you still see a opportunity for change?

Grigory Yavlinsky: I see an even greater opportunity. People now see that if there isn't a change things will be just like they are now for another 25 years. People want the situation to change. I think Putin's return and Putin's [United Russia] congress showed people the necessity of change even more than before. The reaction in society and in the elite shows this. For example, after the congress the number of people who want to work with me and with Yabloko rose sharply. Even those who were more moderate or indifferent are now in a different mood. They have been under pressure from these conditions for such a long time. What does [Putin's return] mean? It means the preservation of the previous style and the previous agenda. It means the same faces on television. It means everything will remain the same. People can't take this anymore...

Forum 2000: The Rule of Law in Russia

Grigory Yavlinsly's speech, October 10, 2011

...The panel examined the absence of rule of law in Russia. The keynote speaker Grigory Yavlinsky distinguished this absence by the lack of independent justice, the influence of the political elite and of money. He identified three root causes of the problem: the 1917 state coup in which “a criminal group of people were taking power in Russia,” the privatization process of the 1990s, and the support of the international community for the political and economic reforms of the 1990s. Mr. Yavlinsky also stated that “Russia’s corruption is a joint venture with the West.”

William Browder then spoke on the possibility of international action putting pressure on the Russian political elite to interrupt this joint venture. While Grigory Yavlinsky later reiterated the importance of initiating change from within Russia, stating that Russian “politicians all know, personally, that it is [their] task to change the system.” Vadim Klyuvgant followed with an analysis of the Russian “dictate of law.” He insisted on individual human rights as a foundation for rule of law.

Bobo Lo continued the discussion with a distinction between the notions of “rule of law” and “rule by law” which prevails in Russia. He defined this concept as the “use and abuse, particularly, of laws and administrative regulations to support power rather than justice.” The panel recognized the validity of Yavlinsky’s view that “there is no rule of law in Russia and we must implement it.”...

October 10, 2011

ALDE welcomes overdue launch of new Schengen visa information system
Press Release, ALDE, October 10, 2011

After two years delay, tomorrow the EU will finally launch the Visa Information System (VIS); a database which will improve the processing of visa applications and biometric data for visits from non-EU nationals to the EU’s Schengen zone. Sarah Ludford (LibDem, UK), ALDE spokesperson on EU visa policy and author of Parliament's report on the VIS system, said: "VIS is now finally live but the two year delay is dismaying. The need for an efficient border control system to combat illegal immigration while keeping the EU open to genuine travellers justified a greater urgency"...

October 6, 2011

Is the Common Economic Space destined for migrant workers and drug trafficking?

Press Release, October 5, 2011

An exciting picture of a bight future painted with wide strokes – the idea of a Common Economic Space (CES) and the Eurasian Union (see Vladimir Putin’s article in Izvestia, English text) – is virtually pained over the problems that can become crucial for Russia already in the short perspective.

What are the proposed guidelines for such integration with Russia’s participation? Obviously, Vladimir Putin intends to focus on the Asian vector, rather than the European. However, there are no grounds (at least for Russia) to count that [Russia’s] “joining the Eurasian Union ... will allow every member state to integrate into Europe quicker and from stronger positions”...

October 5, 2011

Danish government negotiations concluded – Radikale Venstre gets six Ministers!
ELDR Press Release, October 4, 2011.

Following two weeks of intense negotiations after the Parliamentary elections on 15 September 2011, a new government was announced on Monday in Denmark, to be led by Social Democrat Party Leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt, who thereby becomes the country’s first ever female Prime Minister. Also the overall government held a good gender balance. Out of a total of 23 Ministers, 9 are female and 14 male. The new Danish coalition government features three parties, including ELDR Member Det Radikale Venstre (Radikale), who goes into the coalition as the second force and will receive six Ministerial portfolios, the heaviest obviously being Party Leader Magrethe Vestager's beefed up, combined portfolio of Minister for Economy and Home Affairs, which will give Radikale a first-hand opportunity to steer the Danish migration policy into a new direction, following years of influence from the nationalist, anti-immigrant Danish People's Party on this area.

In addition to Vestager's portfolio, Radikale gains the following Ministers:

- Minister for Climate and Energy: Mr. Martin Lidegaard;

- Minister for Culture: Mr. Uffe Elbæk;

- Minister for Development: Mr. Christian Friis Bach;

- Minister for Ecclesiastical Affairs, Equality and Nordic Cooperation: Mr. Manu Sareen;

- Minister for Research and Innovation: Mr. Morten Østergaard;

The ELDR Party would like to take this occasion to wish Det Radikale Venstre all the best for its upcoming challenges in Danish politics and the new government!

October 4, 2011

Liberals and Democrats maintain pressure for action plan on economic governance
Press Release, ALDE, October 4, 2011

Following last week's State of the Union debate in Strasbourg, the ALDE group will follow up on commitments made by President Barroso to strengthen economic governance in the Union and propose concrete measures to deepen economic and fiscal integration.

Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the Liberal and Democrat group in the European Parliament had praised Barroso for his passionate defence of the Union and the central role for the European Commission in economic governance, but underlined the importance of the same message being repeated to EU leaders at their next summit in Brussels on 17-18th October...

Prospects for European Liberals in this decade. By Sir Graham Watson, MEP. September 2011
“I hope still to contribute to the task of building Liberal strength across the continent of Europe and beyond. I believe there is much to play for.
The European People’s Party is an inherently unstable coalition, the European Socialists a party in terminal decline. The opportunity for a stronger centre is immense.”

With these words I concluded my book ‘Building a Liberal Europe - the ALDE Project’ published late last year. The book tells the story of the Liberal contribution to the building of the EU from the first direct elections to the European Parliament in 1979 to the elections of June 2009. But the story of liberalism did not end there.

Since then the Lisbon Treaty has entered into force, giving the EU institutions new competences; substantial moves have been made towards common economic government for the countries sharing a common currency, in conjunction with moves to control the greed of the financial community; the EU has been challenged to turn its fine words into action in the fight against climate change; and the foundations have been laid for a common foreign and security policy. Liberal thought has contributed to these. But where do we go from here? How can we contribute to the EU's 'work in progress'?...

October 3, 2011

An alternative to Vladimir Putin

Sergei Mitrokhin’s blog at the Echo Moskvi web-site, October 2, 2011

A game depicting an alleged conflict between Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev went on for a long time and was very exciting. A huge number of people were persuaded that the President was an alternative to the Prime Minister. Political scientists also tried to look clever saying very “smart” things. There even emerged such organisations like the Institute of Contemporarily Development, INSOR, [by Igor Yurgens] that built their modernisation concepts on such "differences" [between Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev]...

I'm not going to campaign for the YABLOKO party here, which also has never been a Kremlin’s project and has been in opposition to Vladimir Putin since 1999. I just would like to say that in case of mass-scale voting for us, the government would receive a very clear signal that the society does not need any "strong hand", but needs simply a DEMOCRATIC LAW-GOVERNED state.

The "strong hand” is not an alternative to Vladimir Putin, but a European-style democracy is such an alternative.

September 30, 2011

Yabloko: “Putin-Medvedev Presidency Tandem Chooses Stagnation”
LI News Bulletin, Issue 252, September 29, 2011

Sergei Mitrokhin, the leader of Yabloko (LI full member) commented on the news that President Medvedev is going to head the United Russia party at the parliamentary election in December 2011 while Prime Minister Putin will run at the presidential elections in 2012 as ”nothing unexpected.” Describing the recent statement of Putin and Medvedev as simply a “rotation in the tandem”, Mitrokhin characterised the proposal as “a way towards a new stagnation rather than modernisation, and this stagnation may lead the country to the same deplorable outcome like the stagnation of Leonid Brezhnev's era.” Mitrokhin's concerns were echoed by Yabloko's top parliamentary candidate Grigory Yavlinsky, who warned that the announcement should be viewed as the emergence of a “new political reality” and that the system “created during Putin's presidency implies that it should be maintained for another 12 years, and perhaps 24 years, that is, until 2036.” Emphasising that a return to valid elections at all levels is the only solution, the Yabloko leaders called on citizens to voice their disapproval at the parliamentary elections in December...


LI President demands EU attention on Burundi
Lööf celebrated as new Centre Party leader
Liberals speak out for human rights at UNGA
Canadian liberals reject Conservative crime bill
SFP takes charge for gender neutral marriage laws in Finland
ALDE supports EP agreement on financial oversight in Europe

September 28, 2011

Centerpartiet elects Annie Lööf MP as new Party Leader
ELDR Press Release, September 23, 2011.
On 22-25 September, ELDR’s Swedish member party Centerpartiet is convening for what has been described as their most important Party Congress in a decade in the scenic skiing resort of Åre, Sweden.

A large part of the drama has obviously been triggered by the fact that current Party Leader and Minister for Enterprise Maud Olofsson has announced her stepping down, why the party elects a new Party Leader, but also takes the opportunity to have a comprehensive debate on the party platform and elect new Deputy Party Leaders, a first in the long and proud history of Centerpartiet...

Verhofstadt: Barroso must now convince Council of need for more Europe
Press Release, ALDE, September 28, 2011

In today's State of the Union debate in Strasbourg, Guy Verhofstadt welcomed President Barroso's passionate defence of the European Union and the central role of the Commission in proposing common solutions to the current crisis.

"We stand in the eye of a financial storm. Banks have lost trust in each other, stock markets are at a 4-year low, growth prospects are anemic and the spreads on government bonds in the eurozone are increasing by the day. Only courage, solidarity and leadership will provide a route out of the current crisis"...

September 27, 2011

Grigory Yavlinsky: There is an alternative

Grigory Yavlinsky's blog. Video. September 27, 2011

...Because if this system does not change, then it will impossible to amend or rebuild it a few years. And we can influence the developments only within a very short period - in 2.5 months through elections to the State Duma. Whatever they are! And at presidential elections that come in six months... We should show that there is an alternative for the country at these elections. And yet – I am stressing the word “yet” here - we can do it! And YABLOKO offers such an alternative...

YABLOKO’s leader does not expect any changes in Russia’s financial policy in view of the appointments

Interfax, September 27, 2011

According to YABLOKO’s leader Sergei Mitrokhin, new appointments in the financial and economic bloc of the Russian government are unlikely to lead to changes in Russia’s financial policy.

“I think that any abrupt changes in view of appointment of Anton Siluanov acting Finance Minister and Igor Shuvalov supervisor of the financial-economic bloc in the government are unlikely. Most probably everything will remain as it is,” Sergei Mitrokhin told to Interfax.

He also noted that replacement of the Finance Minister is unlikely to lead to economic upheavals...

September 23 , 2011

Silent Solidarity.All the political parties, but Yabloko, criticize United Russia, but not Vladimir Putin
Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 23, 2011

...Yabloko’s programme will focus on three issues. "Fight against corruption, introduction of an article into the Criminal Code envisaging punishment for unlawful enrichment, and firing of all state functionaries unable or unwilling to explain their personal fortunes,” Yabloko’s leader Sergei Mitrokhin said. “Also [we are] for return to elections at all levels, public control over secret services, and transition to professional military service."

According to Mitrokhin, at present Yabloko is about to publish a large number of copies of its electoral programme, that will be delivered to the voters by party activists. And before that Yabloko had organised a number of actions and pickets, and Kirill Gontcharov, leader of Youth Yabloko, had even served several days of imprisonment in the Gelendzhik prison for the action by the centre of the Russian Orthodox Church [in Gelendzhik], also called “Patriarch’s country cottage”.

Mitrokhin said that all the political parties were Yabloko's political rivals adding that Yabloko would criticize United Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin. Yabloko’s leader was the first and the only politician who dared to criticize Vladimir Putin: “We have absolutely definite claims on Prime Minister’s performance: namely, creation of a resource-based economy, huge corruption and virtual liquidation of political competition”...

Nothing New in the East/À l’Est, rien de nouveau

Réforme, No 3430, 8 septembre, 2011

Les jeunes en Russie Russie Les 18-30 ans constituent en Russie la première génération qui a grandi dans l’après-communisme. Cette nouvelle jeunesse apporte-t-elle un vent de changement ? Rien n’est moins sûr. Rencontres. Vingt ans après la chute du régime soviétique, le parti d’opposition Iabloko (« pomme » en russe) dresse dans un rapport un bilan alarmiste du sort de la jeunesse russe : passivité civique, carriérisme égoïste, conformisme, refus de chercher la vérité, niveau d’éducation en baisse, orgueil national, impréparation totale aux défis du XXIe siècle... La situation sanitaire est tout aussi préoccupante : contamination galopante au VIH – un million de personnes touchées –, explosion du nombre de toxicomanes mineurs en dix ans, alcoolisme qui tue chaque année 40 000 jeunes.

La jeunesse moderne est la première génération née dans la nouvelle Russie…

Information technologies can improve quality of life
Press Release, ALDE, September 22, 2011

On Thursday September 22nd, ALDE MEPs Niccolo Rinaldi (IdV, Italy) and Antonyia Parvanova (NMSP, Bulgaria) organised a seminar in the European Parliament to evaluate the use of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) for improving the quality of life and healthy ageing of the population...

LibDems: Liberal voice in government loud and clear
LI News Bulletin, Issue 251, September 23, 2011

Addressing the Autumn Party Conference in Birmingham this week, the leader of the Liberal Democrats (LI full member) Nick Clegg underlined the party's achievements in government, saying that an impressive three quarters of the LibDem manifesto “is being delivered in government”. ‘In difficult times you need to know two things about your government: that it has the strength to take the decisions needed to fix the big problems; and that there are people in that government who are looking out for you... Our liberal voice is loud and clear', stated Clegg. LibDem Party President Tim Farron, said: ‘We are a radical Liberal Party putting radical liberal politics into action and blocking Tory policies every day...'


LI Bureau continues to focus on the Arab awakening
More seats for liberals in Danish parliament
Liberals call for democratic renewal ahead of Tanzanian by-election
Reduced sentence for Sam Rainsy not enough
LI Prize for Freedom Laureate Marks the International Day of Democracy
DPP Tsai promotes ‘Taiwan consensus’ in Washington D.C.

September 19 , 2011

Central Electoral Commission attested YABLOKO’s list of candidates for parliamentary elections

Interfax, September 11, 2011

The Central Electoral Commission of the Russian Federation attested YABLOKO’s list of candidates for elections to the State Duma of the Russian Federation...

YABLOKO’s federal list is topped by Dr.Grigory Yavlinsky, party founder and member of YABLOKO’s Political Committee, Sergei Mitorkhin, party Chairman and Alexei Yablokov, head of YABLOKO’s Green Russia faction.

“We are setting a tough goal – creation of a faction in the State Duma. This implies overcoming a seven per cent barrier, but we should do this with a higher margin. A benchmark for us is ten per cent,” Mitrokhin told journalists on Monday.

Successful liberal results
ELDR Press Release, September 16, 2011.

The stakes were high when yesterday’s Danish Parliamentary elections got underway. Following intense and good campaigning by all parties, spearheaded by leading government party and ELDR Member Party Venstre, polls close to election day showed the two blocs on almost equal figures. The stage was therefore set for a real nail-biter on election night. As the vote count got underway, it quickly became clear that this would be a good night for Danish liberals.

Not only did Venstre stand their ground very well, clearly maintaining their position as Denmark’s largest party, ELDR’s other Danish member party Det Radikale Venstre were also speeding off the blocks to substantially increase their 5,1 % share of the electorate in the last elections in 2007...

Yabloko: Abstention from elections not an option
LI News Bulletin, Issue 250, September 15, 2011

During its 16th Party Congress in Moscow, LI full member Yabloko, prominent party figures expressed their concerns regarding public calls for abstention in the parliamentary elections scheduled for December 4th. Saying that the voters need to express their opinions through voting, party founder Dr. Grigory Yavlinsky said '…today Yabloko is the only registered independent political party that will always stand in defense of liberty, equality before law and the inviolability of private property ... We are convinced that these values are consciously shared by the majority of our fellow citizens and it would be a betrayal on our part if we deprive them of chance to make their choice,” he said, adding: “Systematic discrediting of elections is as dangerous as election fraud. Because if you do not vote, then why should you fight fraud?' Yavlinsky's views were confirmed by party leader Sergei Mitrokhin, who added that “Yabloko is a responsible political force,that is why it will participate in the coming elections to the Russian parliament”.


Partido Patriota wins first round of Guatemala elections
Venstre increases support in Norway’s local elections
ICC to investigate crimes in CI, says President Ouattara
Belgian LI members make progress in government talks
Nawara: “New historical achievement for the Egyptian revolution…”
European liberals remain firm on further Syrian sanctions
Thai DP suspects government of curbing checks on power
ELDR VP on China: Liberals must speak out for humanity

September 14 , 2011

YABLOKO Congress
ELDR Newsletter, September 14, 2011.

Ahead of parliamentary elections in Russia, ELDR member party, YABLOKO held its 16th congress on 10-11 September. The upcoming elections set the tone for the congress with democratic development and economic policy identified as two main pillars for the campaign. “YABLOKO is a responsible political force, which is why it will participate in the coming elections to the Russian parliament. Only YABLOKO due to the specifics of its ideology and programme can challenge the monopoly of corrupted bureaucracy merged with business,” commented Sergei Mitrokhin, leader of YABLOKO...


Liberal Academy 2011: Financing Europe – value for money?

Electoral succes for Venstre in Norway

Congress of Liberals’ Movement of the Republic of Lithuania

Fighting anti-Semitism

ELDR Policy Center displaying 35 years of adopted Liberalism!

September 13 , 2011

Yavlinsky to Run for Duma With Yabloko

The Moscow Times, September 12, 2011

Yabloko party co-founder Grigory Yavlinsky will come out of political retirement to head the party's list in the State Duma elections, the party announced Sunday at a Moscow congress. Yavlinsky, 59, handed over the reins of Yabloko, which he co-founded in 1993, to Sergei Mitrokhin in 2008 but kept a seat on the party's political committee. Now the duo will occupy the top two spots on the party's federal list in the December vote, Interfax reported.
The third spot will go to Alexei Yablokov, a noted environmentalist and corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Also running on the party ticket will be Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov; Anatoly Leirikh, a senior member of Delovaya Rossia, a business lobby group; and Andrei Rudomakha of Environment Watch North Caucasus, a nonprofit group known for reporting about a Black Sea mansion of unclear ownership dubbed "Putin's Palace"...

the original publication by The Moscow Times

September 9 , 2011

Estonian growth tops Eurozone
LI News Bulletin, Issue 249, September 8, 2011

Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip (Reform Party, LI full member) announced this week that his country's GDP growth forecast is set to drastically improve this year, nearly doubling from 4% to 7%. Estonia, which adopted the Euro as recently as January this year, has with its economic growth in the first two quarters of the year outpaced all other 16 Eurozone countries, making itself the star performer of the fiscal union. Since the economic downturn in 2008, Estonia has showed remarkable public sector austerity — including a 20 % pay cut by the Prime Minister himself. Earlier this summer Estonia's credit rating was improved to double-A minus, a rare achievement in the current economic crisis. Noting the importance of trade in maintaining a high growth rate, Ansip said: 'Our growth rate is based on exports and our main export markets are Sweden and Finland. They are doing really well but you never know.' Prime Minister Andrus Ansip also emphasized that the improved growth outlook would be mirrored by slower growth rates next year.


International liberals speak out in support of blogger Maikel Nabil
LI expresses condolences over death of former LI Treasurer Griffiths
LI Deputy President attends APSA meeting in Seattle
LI VP Chakarov hails Danube River strategy as a liberal project
DA Zille objects to Zuma’s Chief Justice candidate¦DA Zille objects to Zuma’s Chief Justice candidate
Pérez Molina set to secure Guatemalan Presidency
Paddick selected as LibDem London Mayoral Candidate

September 6 , 2011

Europe's financial crisis requires a federal solution
Press Release, ALDE, September 6, 2011

At the start of the new parliamentary year after a summer of crisis, Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament are calling on the European Commission to seize the initiative from the Member States to resolve the persistent financial crisis that is fast deteriorating and infecting the real economy.

ALDE group leader Guy VERHOFSTADT said:

"I appeal now for a bold and brave approach, particularly from the European Commission which has the right of initiative, to seize the initiative back from Member States and get on top of the crisis once and for all. We are returning from a summer of indecision and mixed messages that have only served to exacerbate the problems of the eurozone. Time is now running out. Member States can no longer escape the hard truths of their inaction and policy weakness in the euro area...

September 2 , 2011

Mitrokhin to Medvedev: “Modernise Duma through fair elections”
LI News Bulletin, Issue 248, September 2, 2011

Leader of LI Full member Yabloko, Sergei Mitrokhin has during a rare meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev called for a thorough modernisation of the Russian parliament. During the meeting for all registered parties, Mitrokhin stated that the “forthcoming elections represent an opportunity to implement Russian modernisation plans”, voiced by the President earlier. “Political modernisation first of all means provision of equal possibilities for political competition. And this should take place during elections,” Mitrokhin stressed. “Today the State Duma with dominance of one political party is the most powerful anti-modernisation factor… As it is this party which controls the parliament, it cannot protect the society from bureaucrats' arbitrary rule and corruption. Therefore a corrupted system based on the laws adopted by bureaucracy and for the sake of bureaucracy has been built in the country, via the State Duma”, he added...


LI President joins call for HR inquiry on surveillance trade
Liberal ECON Chairwoman: “Saving the Euro must not cost us the Union”
Ivorian Government promoted Ethical Charter
Danish liberal parties gear up for September elections
Singapore presidential elections disappointing, SDP increasingly popular
FNF research on Ukraine rebuts EU membership claims
LI reminders to member parties

August 31, 2011

Europe's leaders must explain need for drastic action to end economic crisis
Press Release, ALDE, August 29, 2011

The European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee (ECON) met in extraordinary session today to take stock of the deteriorating situation in the Eurozone in the presence of ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet, Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker , EU commissioner Olli Rehn and the Polish Minister of Finance (Council Presidency) Jacek Rostowski...

Twenty years after Communism, Russian democracy still not born, says Yabloko leader
LI News Bulletin, Issue 247, August 25, 2011

The 20th anniversary of the coup attempt gives one more reason to think why 20 years after the ruin of the Communist regime Russian democracy also failed without even being born”, said Sergei Mitrokhin, Leader of Yabloko (LI full member) on August 19th, the day commemorating the failed coup d'etat of 1991 that sparked the fall of the Soviet Union. “The team of Boris Yeltsin failed to build democracy in Russia and 20 years after the abortive coup the country has turned into an oligarchy with elements of autocracy”, he added...


LI President: “Post-Gaddafi Libya needs democracy and a liberal constitution”
LI Vice-President Hsiao meets Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Clegg: “Assad as irrelevant to Syria's future as Gaddafi is to Libya's"
“Terrorism may be on the wane, but not political violence”, says Alderdice
Swedish Centre Party leader to advise Clinton
Sam Rainsy Party: New NGO law puts constitutional rights at serious risk
Singapore: Presidential candidate Tan Jee Say rallies support of thousands

Putin Ally Takes Over as Governor as Matviyenko Quits

The Moscow Times, August 23, 2011

...Expectations about Poltavchenko, whose involvement in public politics remains limited, were still unclear Monday, but the leader of the city branch of the liberal Yabloko party, Maxim Reznik, welcomed him simply for not being a member of Matviyenko's team.

"It's a positive move," Reznik said, Interfax reported. But he criticized the fact that residents of St. Petersburg, the country's second-biggest city with a population of 4.8 million, will be given no say in who will govern them.

Liberals hail dawn of democracy in Libya
Press Release, ALDE, August 23, 2011

Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE Leader has hailed the "dawn of democracy in Libya" following the dramatic events in Tripoli.

"Back in March the ALDE Group took the initiative to invite Dr Al-Issawi and Dr Mahmoud Gebil, two senior members of the National Interim Council of Libya to come to Strasbourg to hear directly from the Libyan rebels what support was needed in their struggle. This was the first time that Libyan Rebels received international attention and given a platform to outline their needs in the fight for freedom. At that moment, they were unequivocal in their request, recognition of the National Interim Council, guarantee the supply of humanitarian assistance and enforce a no-fly zone...

Russian democracy failed without being born, says Yabloko leader

Interfax, August 19, 2011

Moscow, August 19 (Interfax) - The team of Boris Yeltsin failed to build democracy in Russia and 20 years after the abortive coup the country has turned into an oligarchy with elements of autocracy, Yabloko party leader Sergei Mitrokhin believes.

"Unfortunately, those who assumed full power as a result - Boris Yeltsin and his entourage - did not live up to the hopes that the defenders of the White House had pinned to them. Instead of building a civilized democracy in Russia, they surrendered power to adventurers and national wealth - to criminals," Mitrokhin's statement received by Interfax on Friday says...

Opposition Slams Governor for ‘Secret’ Vote

The St.Petersburg Times, August 3, 2011

...Yabloko Democratic Party said it does not recognize the elections, which were not properly announced and thus illegal in a statement on Monday, which described them as a “shameful and undignified farce.”

It said that Matviyenko has a “panicked fear” of any democratic procedures and the scheme’s goal was to save her from any political competition at the election...

August 11, 2011

Police must now have our support, says LibDem Deputy Leader Hughes
LI News Bulletin, Issue 245, August 11, 2011

As riots continue to spread across the United Kingdom, President of the Liberal International British Group (LIBG) and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, the Rt. Hon. Simon Hughes MP, has spoken out against the violence occurring in the capital. “Things are now becoming very serious in many areas of London …Police must now have our support and they must be free to take the action they feel necessary to restore peace in our communities… “And there is just one simple message for young people. Don't give in to the temptation to trash your own communities — these are the places which we all need for our future jobs, housing and prosperity.” Lynn Featherstone MP also characterized the violence as “…the wanton destruction of the fabric of our communities and the violence against the police [making] for scenes of absolute horror — the like of which we have not seen on the streets of London.” While the violence has calmed down in London, it has now spread to the north and west of the country...


LI VP calls for strong Eurozone leadership
Liberals at the Amsterdam Pride: visibility, security, solidarity
Democrat Party re-elects Abhisit
RELIAL Congress focused on improving Property rights in Latin America
Westerwelle, Clegg urge end to Kosovo border crisis
Liberals spread best practices in Asia
NI Justice Minister Ford meets with Liberal Vannin Party

August 10, 2011

Police is disgracing Russia
Sergei Mitrokhin's blog at the Echo Moskvi web-site, August 10, 2011

A joint action by the Federation of Russian Automobile Owners and YABLOKO [against use of flashing lights at bureaucrats’ cars creating terrible traffic jams in Moscow] began as usual at 8 a.m. [this August]. First everything was calm, as according to the law one-person pickets do not require any permissions from the authorities...

August 9, 2011

Opposition Slams Governor for ‘Secret’ Vote

St.Petersburg Times, August 3, 2011

...Yabloko Democratic Party said it does not recognize the elections, which were not properly announced and thus illegal in a statement on Monday, which described them as a “shameful and undignified farce.” It said that Matviyenko has a “panicked fear” of any democratic procedures and the scheme’s goal was to save her from any political competition at the election.

“It’s an utter shame and disgrace,” said Yabloko’s local chair Maxim Reznik by phone on Monday.“And this is a person who once was the governor! She simply humiliates herself”...

Eurobonds market now!
Press Release, ALDE, August 8, 2011

Whilst welcoming the ECB's decision on Sunday evening to actively implement its bond buying program, including for Spain and Italy, Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE Leader said:

"In view of the severity of the crisis, further exacerbated by the downgrading of the US ranking, European leaders have got to stop making quick fix-it solutions to the very serious debt crisis. Rather than prepare the next plan for Spain or Italy, they must tackle the root cause of the problem...

August 5, 2011

Liberals call for urgent actions on Syria
LI News Bulletin, Issue 244, August 4, 2011

This past week, liberal leaders have reacted strongly as violence escalates against anti-government demonstrators in Syria. LI Vice President in the Bureau, Abir Al-Sahlani, MP reacted: 'First and foremost, the violence must be stopped. The UN must step in and do more. We can't just watch how tanks are being sent against civilians. We have a responsibility to protect civillians'. Following the regime's deadliest assault so far on demonstrators last Sunday , ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt called upon the EU to extend sanctions to Syrian oil businesses. “We need to hit as hard as possible on the regime's source of finance.” Verhofstadt said, remarking that 90 percent of Syrian oil exports are exported to the EU. German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle (FDP, LI Full member), welcomed on Thursday the UN Security Council's condemnation of Syrian regime's human rights violations and demanded that a special UN envoy on Syria to be immediately named and dispatched to the country 'to bring the clear message of the international community to Damascus.'


Ivorians ready to deal with the challenges
Egyptian liberals to join forces to combat growing Islamist trends
Albright, Rae speak out on divisive politics in the US
LI VP Montaner: Cuban reforms too little too late
Thailand: Vejjajiva warns of resorting to coup talks
DPP firmly re-asserts China policy ahead of 2012 elections
Suu Kyi attends high-level meeting, calls for ceasefire

August 2, 2011

EU must extend sanctions to Syrian oil businesses
Press Release, ALDE, August 1, 2011

"Since the beginning of the peaceful demonstrations against the regime in Syria, over 1.600 civilians have been killed, 12 thousand arrested, 3 thousand have disappeared and around 13 thousand found shelter in Lebanon and Turkish camps...

July 28, 2011

LI condemns terrorist attacks in Norway
LI News Bulletin, Issue 243, July 28, 2011

LI President Hans van Baalen MEP has conveyed his condolences to the Norwegian Government and Parliament and to the LI Member Party Venstre of Norway following the loss of more than 90 lives in the terrorist attacks last Friday. “The condolences of Liberal International go to Norwegian society, the family and relatives of the victims and to those wounded in, as it seems, a ruthless terrorist attack on the government buildings in central Oslo and on the resort of the Norske Arbeiderpartiet (Norwegian Labour Party) at Utøya.”. The party offices of Norwegian LI member party, Venstre, suffered extensive material damage during the attack. Expressing her condolences to all of those affected, Venstre leader Trine Skei Grande said: “These are days for comfort, thoughtfulness and reflection. Take care of each other. We must remember to maintain our democracy and an open society.” In order to honour the national grieving, the Norwegian party leaders have decided to postpone campaigning in the upcoming local elections in September until further notice.


LI Vice President assesses situation in Tunisia
LI Treasurer elected to Chatham House Council
Executive Committee of IFLRY convened in Timisoara
Post-conflict issues continue to traumatise Serbia and Kosovo
UREC President: “"The wind of change is coming and the Congo will change”
Liberals praise Eurozone unity
New York sees first same sex couples wed

July 25, 2011

YABLOKO campaign unfairly targeted
ELDR Press Release, July 22, 2011.

...In conducting a campaign in the Black Sea coastal region to return public land, including beaches and forest areas, to the people and to stop the construction of oil shipment terminals, ELDR member party YABLOKO, has been targeted by an unknown source which is calling for the party to be put on a list of terrorist organisations and for its activities to be prohibited.

Click here to read YABLOKO's press release on this matter.

This follows the arrest last month of YABLOKO activists campaigning for better environmental awareness and consideration at the Black Sea coast. Read more.

The notion of wanting to label a political party as being a terrorist organisation on the basis of conducting a peaceful campaign that represents the views of a number of citizens living in the area concerned is very worrying and a clear infringement of human rights and on the actions of YABLOKO as a political party. ELDR deplores such attempts to limit the freedom of expression of the Russian people and the underhand tactics used against YABLOKO to halt the campaign.

July 21, 2011

Sergei Mitrokhin arrived to Novosibirsk to encourage the regional YABLOKO branch to more active work on the threashold of the State Duma elections
Press Release, July 20, 2011

Leader of the YABLOKO party Sergei Mitrokhin arrived to Novosibirsk on July 20 so that to intensify the work of the regional office on the eve of the State Duma elections. According to Mitrokhin, Oleg Donskikh can head the party branch in Novosibirsk. Donskikh is at present the authorized representative of the party in the region, reports Taiga-Info correspondent on July 20...

July 15, 2011

Liberals deplore further violent crackdown on Belarus demonstrators
LI News Bulletin, Issue 241, July 15, 2011

“The flagrant violence that is employed by the Belarusian law-enforcement agencies against peaceful protests is absolutely unacceptable,” said in a prompt reaction to the latest news from Belarus the German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle (FDP, LI Full Member). He expressed great concern over the recent violent crackdown on anti-government protesters demanding “the immediate release of all political prisoners and an end to political violence”. Westerwelle's statement follows a recent joint statement of LI, ELDR, ALDE-EP and ALDE-PACE, issued shortly after the Presidential elections in Belarus in connection to the violent repression of political protests...


LI President meets the Prime Minister of Poland
Treasurer Woodthorpe Browne highlights R2P as a liberal issue
Liberals speak out in support of South Sudan
ALDE opens office in Cairo
LibDems take leading role in clearing up hacking scandal
Georgian LI Member enters into a Political Coalition

July 12, 2011

EU must carry out full evaluation of Counter Terrorism policies
Press Release, ALDE, July 12, 2011

“In a democratic society, all policies are subject to parliamentary scrutiny and evaluation. The regular standards of transparency and accountability should apply to counter terrorism like any other policy area. But so far remarkably little has been done to evaluate our counter terrorism efforts and their results. An in-depth evaluation is long overdue and will undoubtedly lead to more efficient and effective policies”...

July 11, 2011

Environmentalists crash ‘Putin’s seaside palace’. France 24. The Observers, July 5, 2011

...Last week, a handful of environmentalists and political opposition party members made their way to the site of Putin’s alleged fairytale home to check out the mysterious place and assess its environmental impact.

In January, the FRANCE 24 Observer’s website published an article on the controversy triggered by photos published on the internet of Putin’s seaside palace near the southern town Paraskoveevka, on the Black Sea. The site also published comments made by Sergei Kolesnikov, a Russian businessman who had been involved in the building’s construction, and who maintained that the prime minister was its true owner. Although officially classified as a centre to be used for medical care, Kolesnikov was able to use a paper trail detailing the building’s financing to link it to Putin...

ALDE in PACE and EP focus on multi-party democracy in Russia
LI News Bulletin, Issue 240, July 8, 2011

Following the June session of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE), at which ALDE-PACE debated the rule of law in Russia, the liberal colleagues from ALDE in the European Parliament (ALDE-EP, LI full member) invited Mikhail Kasyanov and Boris Nemstov, Leaders of the People's Freedom Party (PARNAS) for discussions in Strasbourg. The Russian leaders warned that the current policy is paving the way for a Russian Spring similar to the uprisings spreading through Arab countries, 'Russian people do not seek another revolution but freedom ultimately cannot be denied'. An earlier liberal conference on the rule of law in Russia in Moscow on 22 June produced a statement condemning the refusal of the Russian authorities to register several political parties, like PARNAS. Sergei Mitrokhin, leader of LI full member YABLOKO, has also released a statement on the topic. Kristiina Ojuland MEP (Estonian Reform Party, LI full member) reacted: 'The EU needs to send an unequivocal message to Russia that the illegal banning of legitimate parties from elections will not be tolerated'.


Liberal leaders meet with LP Philippines delegation in Strasbourg
LI Past President pays tribute to former Alliance Leader Sir Oliver Napier
Thousands gather for Swedish Almedalsveckan
Partido Patriota gearing up for September elections in Guatemala
“Red Shirt” successors replace LI VP Abhisit’s Democrat Party in Thailand
Aung San Suu Kyi travels outside capital for the first time in seven years

July 8, 2011

Sergei Mitrokhin: tortures in the name of Christ. Sergei Mitrokhin’s blog at the Echo Moskvi web-site, July 5, 2011

...Our guys were put into a jail cell in the police station 3 by 3 meters large, where about 20 people had already been crammed along with them. People were standing, squatting or lying close to each other on the dirty cement floor. One of them - a homeless person – obviously had tuberculosis. In this cell the guys were kept before sending them to court: Goncharov for nine hours and Menzheritsky for 14 hours...

...The convicts were housed in a temporary detention facility, located in the same police building in Gelenzhik. Menzheritsky was kept cell No 13. The cell was about 16 square meters. m, and was designed for seven, but the police kept 18 people there. The cops did not try to hide the fact that the temporary detention prison had several vacant cells. They tormented 18 people on purpose, so that, according to the police officers, "they would try to avoid getting there in the future”. People had to queue so that to sleep in turn on a board couch (as there were no separate beds and linen)...

Better Schengen governance but no new rules enabling border checks
Press Release, ALDE, July 7, 2011

"Parliament has backed today what ALDE has been repeating for months. We do not want and will not accept any new mechanism that may weaken the Schengen acquis guaranteeing the principle of free movement between Member States - the very essence of our Union." said Renate Weber (PNL, Romania) ALDE coordinator in the Civil Liberties Committee after today's vote on a resolution on the "Changes to Schengen" as called for by the June European Council conclusion...

See also: The EU must send a firm message to Russia to uphold multi-party democracy

July 7, 2011

Penitentiary medicine must be subordinated to Health Ministry - rights activists' report

Interfax, July 6, 2011

..."The facts listed confirm the need to organize independent and competent medical services for inmates of penitentiary facilities. Such services cannot be exclusively controlled by the Federal Penitentiary Service and must also be subordinated to the Health Ministry," it says.

"It is necessary to create a mechanism of independent medical examinations of the inmates' condition on the basis of proposals provided by the Office of the Moscow Human Rights Commissioner, jointly with the City Public Supervisory Commission," the report says...

July 6, 2011

Inquiry: Magnitsky Beaten by Guards

The Moscow Times, July 6, 2011

Eight prison guards severely beat lawyer Sergei Magnitsky shortly before his 2009 death in pretrial detention, an activist said Tuesday, providing a new twist to allegations that Magnitsky had been tortured in prison.
An account of the beating is included in a 40-page report on Magnitsky's death that the Kremlin's human rights council presented to President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday, said Valery Borshchyov, who headed an independent investigation into the death that formed the basis for the report.

The report also lays blame on prison hospital staff and the investigators who jailed Magnitsky for his death.

"Having interviewed the prison doctors and staff, we came to the conclusion that Magnitsky, who was already in bad condition, was beaten in a separate cell," Borshchyov said by telephone...

The original publication at the Moscow Times web-site

EP sets out proposals to avoid further economic crises
Press Release, ALDE, July 6, 2011

"The EU is at a critical juncture: it must decide either to increase its rate of integration or regress to an economic zone", said CRIS chairman Wolf KLINZ (FDP, Germany), after the European Parliament adopted today by a large majority the final report of its 'Special Committee on the Financial, Economic and Social Crisis' - established in 2009 in response to the crisis that had followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers...

July 5, 2011

The Kremlin is trying to represent St Petersburg Governor Valentina Matvienko’s nomination for speaker of the Federation Council as a promotion, not punishment. Some tricky formalities, however, will have to be observed. By Boris Vishnevsky. Novaya Gazeta, July 4, 2011

...How will the people of St Petersburg remember Valentina Matvienko’s eight-year tenure as governor? She is undoubtedly clever, resolute, has a way of winning people over and at a pinch can make a good impression even on her opponents. But being an authoritarian politician, she hates being criticized and sees the opposition not as people whose point of view needs to be taken into account, but as an enemy that should be destroyed if it doesn’t surrender. It is no wonder that protests in St Petersburg are broken up, opposition members are made ineligible to run for public office and the results of elections are often rigged...

July 4, 2011

Acquittal of prominent human rights lawyer Oleg Orlov, ALDE-PACE News,

"I warmly welcome the acquittal of Oleg Orlov. It is a step in the direction of ensuring respect for the rule of law and a sign that Russian courts are willing and able to interpret the right to freedom of expression in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights. However, we should not forget that the circumstances of the killing of Natalia Estemirova have not yet been elucidated, and that human rights defenders in Chechnya continue to be threatened and hindered in exercising their activities." - Mailis Reps (Estonia, ALDE), the rapporteur of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) on the situation of human rights defenders.

See also: Newsletter N°3, 2011

July 1, 2011

YABLOKO’s activists arrested by “Putin’s country cottage” at the Black Sea Coast
LI News Bulletin, Issue 239, July 1, 2011

Kirill Gontcharov, leader of the Moscow Youth YABLOKO (LI full member), and environmentalist Sergei Menzhitsky were sentenced to five days of imprisonment for alleged “physical resistance to police orders”. They were detained in Divnomorskoye village at the Black Sea, while protesting against unlawful and illegal construction of cottages in national parks, which involved turning public beaches and territories into top officials' private property. The YABLOKO action, titled “All-Russia Protest Against the Stolen Black Sea Coast”, was launched on 24 June...


Documentation for the 57th Congress of LI now online
LI Congress adopts resolution on LGBT rights as human rights as UN calls for a study on human rights violations based on sexual orientation
LI Treasurer at Community of Democracies Summit
CALD holds Executive Committee Meeting
SFP celebrates new Finnish government at its party congress
Graham Watson MEP appointed Knight Bachelor in Queen’s Birthday Honours
Georgian opposition parties reject ruling party proposals for electoral reform
Moldova: Liberal Party candidate becomes Mayor of Chisinau

June 30, 2011

Hans van Baalen MEP, re-elected as President of Liberal International, receives Friedrich-Naumann-Medal for freedom
Press Release, ALDE, June 29, 2011

ALDE MEP Hans van Baalen (VVD, Netherlands) has been re-elected for a second term of 18 months as President of Liberal International during the 57th Congress of LI in the Philippine capital Manila...

June 24, 2011

ALDE: "No new border controls inside the EU"
Press Release, ALDE, June 23, 2011

ALDE will strongly condemn any attempt to create any additional mechanism and possibilities of making it easier for Member States to re-introduce border checks. This is one of the messages of the ALDE group to today's European Council summit due to decide over migration and the governance of the Schengen area...

Partidul Liberal wins round two of Moldovan elections
ELDR Press Release, June 22, 2011.

Last Sunday (19 June) witnessed the second round of the Moldovan local elections. The first round of the local elections, held on Sunday 5 June, were very fruitful for ELDR member Partidul Liberal (PL), as reported by ELDR on 8 June – and offered plenty of potential for the second round, with the capital Chisinau still undecided and over 100 liberal candidates still in the running around the country...

June 23, 2011
Ten steps to fight corruption

Sergei Mitrokhin’s blog at the Echo Moskvi web-site, June 22, 2011

The issue of today’s radio programme “People Are Against” has been whether it is possible to knockdown corruption in Russia? My answer is: yes, it is, and the key condition here is the WILL OF THE TOP OFFICIAL OF THE STATE. After which the following steps can be taken...

June 22, 2011

Sergei Mitrokhin: decision by the Justice Ministry to deny registration to the People's Freedom Party means derogation of the rights of supporters of this party

Interfax, June 22, 2011.

YABLOKO’s leader Sergei Mitrokhin expressed his indignation with the decision of the Justice Ministry to deny registration to People’s Freedom Party (PNS).

“I am expressing indignation with the actions of the registrator. We do not share many of the political views of PNS, but we believe that this movement reflects the ideas of a particular part of society and has already proved being a political organisation,” he told Interfax on Wednesday.

According to Mitrokhin, “the denial to register PNS means not only a denial of rights to its members, but also to those who support them”.

“I hope that in case PNS goes to court, an objective decision will be taken and the party will be registered and be able to participate in the parliamentary elections,” Mitrokhin concluded...

LI 57th Congress elects new Bureau
LI News Bulletin, Issue 238, June 21, 2011

The delegates assembled at the Congress in Manila had the exciting task of voting for a new Bureau in an election where 8 candidates were competing for the 6 Vice President positions. The President of Liberal International, Hans van Baalen MEP will continue for a second term in his position, as will incumbent Deputy President Juli Minoves. The Vice Presidents on the new Bureau will be: Lamine Ba (PDS, Senegal), Bi-Khim Hsiao (DPP, Taiwan), Wolfgang Gerhadt MP (FDP, Germany and President of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation), Abir Al-Sahlani (Centerpartiet, Sweden), Josep Soler (LiD, Catalonia) and Dzhevdet Chakarov MP. Former Vice President on the Bureau Robert Woodthorpe Browne (Liberal Democrats, UK) and former co-opted Bureau member Senator Art Eggleton (Liberal Party, Canada) will function as Treasurers on the new Bureau...


President Aquino addresses 57th LI Congress at the Presidential Palace in Manila
LI welcomes new member parties
Liberal International members agree on resolutions
Congress Theme Resolution: Human Rights and Trade
Inspiring speeches by liberal leaders at Congress
Congress panels with prominent speakers focus on Theme related issues
LI President awarded Friedrich Naumann Foundation's Medal

EU must insist that Russia respect the rule of law
Press Release, ALDE, June 9, 2011

On the eve of the next EU-Russia summit to be held on 9-10 June in Nizhny Novgorod, ALDE has reiterated its call for more pressure to be put on Russia to uphold her international commitments and obligations but considers that there is insufficient progress on common issues to justify continuing with two summits a year...

Italia dei Valori wins!
ELDR Press Release, June 6, 2011.

In key run-off local elections held in Italy last weekend, ELDR member Italia dei Valori and the coalition it is part of won over Prime Minister’s Berlusconi’s conservative coalition.

In Naples, ELDR MEP Luigi de Magistris won 65% of the vote in a landslide victory over Mr Berlusconi's candidate, Gianni Lettieri. Other such key cities include Milan, Mr Berlusconi and Lega Nord’s power base, run by these parties for the last 18 years, as well as Turin, Bologna, Trieste, Cagliari.

June 1, 2011

No more delays in introducing a Common European Asylum System by 2012
Press Release, ALDE, June 1, 2011

Ahead of the Polish Presidency, the Commission proposed today modifications to the Asylum Reception Conditions and Asylum Procedures Directives (tabled respectively in 2008 and 2009) to overcome the ongoing impasse and give new impetus to negotiations. ALDE welcomes that the revised proposals maintain the core purpose of the original directives and calls on the Council to avoid wasting more time...

Greece: new member in the liberal family!
ELDR Press Release, May 30, 2011.

ELDR Party President Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck addressed the delegates of the Democratic Alliance Party in Greece at their founding Congress on 27 May 2011 in Athens, Greece. This party is led by Dora Bakoyannis, a former foreign minister and mayor of Athens who left the opposition New Democracy Party last year over differences over the economic and budgetary reforms necessary to deal with the current crisis...

May 25, 2011

Europe's new Neighbourhood Policy :an important step in building democracy on our doorstep
Press Release, ALDE, May 25, 2011

Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE leader called the European Commission's Southern Mediterranean Neighbourhood policy "an important step" today but says the challenge now must be to get the Member States to fully support the measures outlined as indicated in the communication -"The ENP should be a policy of the Union with the Member States aligning their own bilateral efforts in support of its overall policy objectives"...

May 24, 2011

On Sergei Mitrokhin's birthday

Kommersant, May 20, 2011.

Today YABLOKO’s Chairman Sergei Mitrokhin turns 48.

Eugeniya Chirikova, leader of the movement in protection of Khimki Forest sends him her congratulations:

— I am congratulating Sergei Mitrokhin on his birthday! I think he is one of the most understanding Russian politicians. He was the first to offer help with the problems of Khimki Forest and he was the only one who saved life to [journalist and Editor-in-Chief of the oppositional Khimkinskaya Pravda paper] Mikhail Beketov arranging for his hospitalization. Sergei Mitrokhin has been helping us a lot and we are very grateful to him for this. We are wishing him good health, happiness and success.

Stop Persecution of Russian Human Rights Activist
Urgency Resolution adopted by ELDR Dresden Council
May 20, 2011, submitted by YABLOKO.

The European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party Council, convening in Dresden, Germany on 20 May 2011:

Notes with deep concern:

- Reports on political reprisals against Oleg Orlov, Russian human rights activist, winner of the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize and Chair of the "Memorial" Human Rights Centre, for voicing criticism of Chechen authorities about the investigation into the murder of human rights activist Natalya Estemirova in 2009;
- That trials initiated by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, the latest of which is set to resume in June, are clearly politically motivated, raise serious questions on the functioning of the Russian judicial system, and demonstrate the desire of the Chechen authorities to prevent Orlov voicing his opinion.

Calls upon Russian authorities to:

- Stop trials and harassments against Oleg Orlov and other human rights defenders and properly investigate such attacks and trials;
- Properly investigate the murder of Natalya Estemirova and bring the perpetrators to justice.

States that

ELDR will continue to closely monitor events in Russia.

The situation with human rights and efforts of society consolidation
in the Republic of Dagestan.
Memorial Human Rights Centre. March 2010 – March 2011

...This report contains the situation analysis of human rights violations in the RD and the authorities’ attempts to achieve the rule of law and consolidation of the society. The report consists of various parts...

The main points of the political programme of Magomedov (new President of the RD since 2010) are the following: modernization of economy, change of the methods regarding the fight against terrorism, rule of law. The main obstacles are: the high level of corruption, undeveloped, subsidized economy, unemployment, poverty, terrorism, instability in the region. New policy is not supported and welcomed by both sides: armed militants continue their activity, and state defense and law enforcement agencies do not follow the rule of law and legal order...

South African local elections: DA set to achieve its best result yet
LI News Bulletin, Issue 233, May 20, 2011

With 95 percent of votes counted on Friday morning, the Democratic Alliance's (LI full member) share of the vote in South African municipal election was an impressive 22.27%, up 6 percent from national elections in 2009. The DA was thrilled about winning Midvaal municipality again, the only municipality not controlled by ruling party ANC in Gauteng, the province where metropolitans Johannesburg and Pretoria are located. “The results so far are unbelievable”, party leader Premier Helen Zille said on Thursday. The DA seems set to effortlessly take the City of Cape Town, its traditional stronghold, where it had won over 65 percent of the votes by Thursday night. In the rest of the Western Cape, DA has won with an outright majority in 19 out of 29 municipalities...


International Day Against Homophobia celebrated worldwide
Rösler inaugurated as new leader of FDP at Rostock Convention
LI Congress Theme Rapporteur Mar Roxas appointed to Aquino’s cabinet
Thai PM dissolves parliament, announces elections for 3 July
Liberal leaders call on Assad to end the suppressions of demonstrators
Surprising result in Milan in Italian local elections
Luxembourg-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Groups visits DPP

May 13, 2011

“Politicians saying that we should adopt the Chinese model of development are either naïve or dishonest”

The Epoch Times, May 10, 2011

Grigory Yavlinsky is a politician recognised and respected by the world democratic community. He is a regular participant of the meetings of the International Crisis Committee, the World Economic Forum, the Trilateral Commission, etc.

Grigory Yavlinsky has been one of the initiators of nomination of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. We began our conversation with discussion of this event.

QUESTION: Grigory Alexeyevich, when you decided to nominate Chinese dissident for the [Nobel Peace] Prize, did you think about that the reaction in the world would be controversial?..

May 12, 2011

YABLOKO leader detained while protesting against deforestation
LI News Bulletin, Issue 232, May 12, 2011

Party leader Sergei Mitrokhin and YABLOKO party activists have been detained by Russian police after protesting the planned deforestation of Khimki Forest (a region which covers 1000 acres in Moscow). When Mithrokin arrived on the scene to join the peaceful protest, he witnessed activists being herded into a van by police forces. Mithrokhin himself was also detained and will likely be charged with disobedience of police instruction. Witnesses were alarmed by the fact that the police forces were being directed by a non-uniformed individual, igniting speculation that this was a government mandated operation. Party officials directed criticism towards the government and their attempt to silence a peaceful protest conducted by a federally recognized political party just ahead of “Victory Day”. According to Mr. Mithrokin: “'I assess the actions of the police [to be] a purposeful provocation of the Khimki district authorities on the verge of Victory Day.” Yabloko is a full member of Liberal International, first joining at the Budapest Congress in 2002.

Schengen: Risk of end to free movement in Europe if border control contagion spreads
Press Release, ALDE, May 12, 2011

ALDE expresses its great disappointment as regards today's extraordinary JHA Council meeting to discuss the Commission's communication of 4th May on a comprehensive and sustainable migration policy. ALDE President Guy Verhofstadt said: "Answers to migration flows should not be about giving in to insular reflexes and reintroducing border controls, either for persons or for goods. It is about developing a common border management, a common asylum system and a common legal migration framework. What we need is more European cooperation to tackle crime and illegal immigration, not a weakening of one of the EU's greatest achievements".

He added: "The Rome and Paris' ping-pong game over 25.000 migrants has invented a problem that did not exist. Italy and France played with fire and now others feel emboldened to reintroduce checks at their borders to combat cross border crime, creating a dangerous precedent. We are concerned by Denmark's decision to reintroduce border controls. We fear a real sabotage of what Europe has built over the last 61 years"...

See also: Liberals call on Ashton to increase pressure on the Chinese authorities

May 10, 2011

Algorithms for Opposing Gender Discrimination

By Marianne Spangenberg-Carlier, Vice-President of D66 Women/Men/Human Rights thematic chapter

D66 News Letter, May 10, 2011.

YABLOKO is the oldest democratic party in Russia. One important issue at hand during the conference concerned worries that because of the low birthrate of Russian women, abortion might become illegal (now allowed within 12 weeks) or not covered by the health insurance. Another issue brought to attention by Yabloko, is the concern of so-called soldier-mothers about the situation of young conscripts (one year army duty is obliged) improvement is urgent.

Turkish MP Nursuna Memecan (AKP) mentioned recent changes made to improve the position of women...

Video of Grigory Yavlinsky's lecture for Skolkovo students

Grigory Yavlinsky, famous Russian politician and economist met with SKOLKOVO’s students. Mr Yavlinsky was as a guest speaker at the MBA practical module, devoted to the projects in social and government sectors.

May 6, 2011

Our party is democratic and anti-oligarchic

Sergei Mitrokhin’s intrerview to Moskovsky Komsomolets
May 3, 2011

Question: What is happening with YABLOKO, why has it not had any success either in the regional or the federal elections?

Sergei Mitrokhin: Do we have elections in our country? You remember October 2009 in Moscow. At the polling stations where Putin, Medvedev, and Luzhkov voted, YABLOKO got 15-17%. While in places where I voted with my family we got zero. Why? In the places where the bosses voted, no-one dared to falsify anything. Only islands for free elections remain today - due to oversights, because although we have an authoritarian regime it is not very tough. In places where we manage to ensure a fair count of the votes, we get what we are due. In Sebezhsky district in Pskov Oblast - 20.6% of the vote and second place after United Russia. In Kolchuginsky district Vladimir Oblast - more than 20%, second place after the LDPR (Liberal Democratic Party of Russia), but the head of our list was elected head of the district...

Russia must protect human rights defenders
Press Release, ALDE, May 6, 2011

It is with dismay we have learned of the forthcoming criminal trial against Oleg Orlov, head of Memorial and 2009 laureate of the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize. This trial, scheduled for 17 May and initiated by the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, is clearly politically motivated and raises serious questions on the functioning of the Russian judicial system.

European Union gains greater weight at the UN
LI News Bulletin, Issue 231, May 6, 2011

The European Union has been granted ‘super observer' status in the United Nations, which will allow the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton to speak on behalf of the EU. This elevation of the EU status was determined by a vote in the UN General Assembly which saw 180 countries out of 192 voting in favour. Though this does not give the EU voting rights, representatives of the EU will be able to participate in the general debate, present proposals and amendments and sponsor resolutions. The ALDE group in the European Parliament (LI full member) has expressly welcomed the vote. Alexander Graf Lambsdorff (FDP, Germany), Deputy Leader of the ALDE Group, said 'The clear vote in favour of the resolution is an important diplomatic success for the EU in a difficult political environment. The EU will enjoy greater weight at the UN, which more adequately reflects its importance on the world stage. The ALDE Group congratulates Cathy Ashton on this success.'


LI President speaks in Cairo on democratic transitions in the Arab World
Westerwelle launches global competition for Human Rights logo
Time to “rebuild, retool and reconnect with Canadians”, says LPC Senator Eggleton
United Kingdom votes on AV, Northern Ireland elects Assembly
Sam Rainsy calls on government to step down amid border clashes
Indonesian President warns of rising Islamist extremism

May 4, 2011

Lies and legitimacy
The founder of the Yabloko Party analyses the political situation. Article by Grigory Yavlinsky on radio Svoboda.

This year marks the 20th anniversary since Russia emerged from the ruins of the USSR. Peaceful rejection of the previous totalitarian system represented a historical achievement of global proportions. At the time society was clearly ready for change and the construction of a new life based on respect for the individual, democratic principles and a free competitive economy. Today we understand that this potential has not been realized. These dreams have not come true...

...The people are organizing their lives outside the state. The people are taking flight, as they believe the state to be alien, and naturally not to offer them any support. At critical moments in the past (such as in 1917 and 1991) this led to the state’s disappearance...

May 3, 2011

Sergei Mitrokhin: after the death of Osama bin Laden we have to prevent possible “acts of revenge”

Interfax, May 3, 2011.

The US and other countries, including Russia, should adopt measures so that to prevent possible “acts of revenge” after the death of terrorist Osama bin Laden, said Sergei Mitrokhin, leader of the opposition party YABLOKO.

“Elimination of bin Laden is a positive event. This is certainly a huge plus for Barack Obama… However, now the Americans should not only rejoice and triumph, but also prepare to possible acts of terror which terrorists may commit as the acts of revenge,” Mitrokhin said on Monday...

Guy Verhofstadt: the end of a decade of terror
Press Release, ALDE, April 19, 2011

After having heard the news of the death of Osama bin Laden, Guy Verhofstadt, President of the ALDE Group in the European Parliament, felt relief. Verhofstadt was President of the European Council back in 2001 when 9/11 took place. In the name of the European Union he called these attacks "barbaric"...

See also: One-China policy has got no future in long term

European Liberals: Dismantling Schengen dismantles an open Europe
ELDR Press Release, April 29, 2011.

Following the unprecedented developments in North Africa, voices have been raised for cutting the freedoms of the Schengen agreement that allows for free travel within Europe to combat illegal migration. If needed, the rules of the Schengen agreement can already be adjusted in exceptional circumstances. European Liberals warn to open this pandora’s box of changing treaties as it is the axe to the idea of an open Europe, which is one of the cornerstones of the EU...

April 28, 2011

YABLOKO condemns political charges made against Sakharov Laureate Oleg Orlov
LI News Bulletin, Issue 230, April 28, 2011

LI full member party Yabloko has expressed great concerns over the recent charges made against Russian Human Rights Activist Oleg Orlov due to his comments that the Moscow-backed President of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, is politically responsible for the murder of fellow human rights activist Natalya Estemirova in July 2009. According to Yabloko leader, Sergei Mitrokhin: ““Ramzan Kadyrov's case is a special case even for our generally low political culture. Even in our conditions of extreme restrictions on freedom of speech and general judicial arbitrariness, it never occurred to anyone to make allegations of political responsibility a subject of a law suit…Russia's policies on Chechnya have to be changed sooner or later. The carte blanche to Ramzan Kadyrov and the people around him is not infinite. We urge the Russian leadership to realize this and change the policies to a more responsible approach. And we repeat: persecution of Oleg Orlov is inadmissible.” Mr. Orlov is the head of the Russian civil rights defence organization Memorial, which won the EU's 2009 Sakharov Prize for Freedom and thought.


Ouattara launches investigation into alleged atrocities by former regime
DPP nominates Tsai as a Presidential Candidate for the 2012 Presidential Elections in Taiwan
Partisan criticism rises ahead of 5 May referendum on A/V in the UK
Time for statements is over – says Verhofstadt on Syria
SDP candidates proceed through nomination stage

Concern at political reprisals against Oleg Orlov
ELDR Press Release, April 28, 2011.

The ELDR Party and our member, Yabloko, have expressed concern about the political reprisals made against Oleg Orlov human rights activist and former winner of the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize (honouring the defence of human rights and freedom of thought), and current chair of the Human Rights Centre "Memorial" for voicing criticism about the investigation into the murder of human rights activist Natalya Estemirova in 2009...

April 19, 2011

Ashton must forge a bold strategy on Arab democracy movements
Press Release, ALDE, April 19, 2011

As the Arab Spring is spreading to a number of Middle Eastern and Gulf countries it is becoming all the more imperative for European countries to agree a common position and common response. This is particularly urgent in the cases of Syria, Yemen and Bahrain where citizens are mobilising in their thousands on a daily basis for political freedom and democracy yet frequently paying with their lives...

Exceptional elections bring about government change in Finland
ELDR Press Release, April 18, 2011.
The financial crisis has finally taken its toll in Finland. Like in so many other European precedents, the sitting government, led for the last eight years by ELDR member party Keskusta (Centre Party), was punished when the country's population placed its votes yesterday, on Sunday 17 April, in what was widely described beforehand as the most interesting and unpredictable elections ever in Finland.

The elections were greatly influenced by inter alia Finland’s participation in the controversial EU bail-out packages. Despite great efforts on the campaign trail, Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi's party was left trailing and is now likely to face a four-year spell in opposition. In total, they managed to gather 35 MPs, which places them as fourth largest party in the country...

April 18, 2011

"Russia - Europe: Partnership for Modernisation"
Vesti-Moscow TV channel,
April 18, 2011.

"Russia - Europe: Partnership for Modernisation" – such is the title of the international forum taking place at Novy Arbat street, Moscow on Monday. The key topic of the meeting is establishing partnership agreements between Russian and European manufacturers.

According to representatives of the YABLOKO party who participated in the forum, a large-scale organisation of joint business should start with abolishing of the visa regime between Russia and EU member states. In addition, important changes should be introduced into laws.

“It is very important so that the visa regime is abolished and we insist on this. And it is very important that our institutions become consistent with the European institutions. I mean here laws referring to functioning of business and transparency of state bodies for all the citizens,” stressed Galina Mikhalyova, Executive Secretary of the Political Committee of the YABLOKO party...

April 15, 2011

Sergei Mitrokhin: a sad anniversary – 10 years since establishing of state control over the private NTV television channel. April 14, 2011.

Ten years have passed since ruining of the private independent television channel and dissolution of the team of 1journalists who had been showing to the country every day how important the profession of a journalist is for the society and freedom of speech. On April 14, 2001, the management of the NTV channel was completely changed. And virtually from this moment censorship has been widely exercised in Russia...

See also: the NTV case

Participation in peaceful demonstrations a human right
ELDR Press Release, April 15, 2011.

...Earlier this week Sergei Mitrokhin, leader of ELDR member party, Yabloko, was arrested and detained by police for taking part in a protest to demand the closure of a cement plant in the Pechatniki district of Moscow. The plant is situated in close proximity to a residential area and is considered a health concern for local residents.

Yabloko applied for permission to conduct a peaceful protest at the plant, but the local authorities delayed, beyond the legal limit, a response to the application and even though permission was eventually granted, Yabloko activists were prevented from holding their protest and Mitrokhin was arrested by police...

European Liberal Democrats are the strongest supporters of human rights and the rule of law and consider these values to be fundamental to the future relationship between the EU and Russia. Stopping peaceful demonstrations contravenes an essential human right and this is a worrying sign, particularly in view of upcoming parliamentary elections to be held in Russia later this year.

April 14, 2011

YABLOKO’s leader Sergei Mitrokhin detained at picket
LI News Bulletin, Issue 228, April 14, 2011

Sergei Mitrokhin, leader of LI full member YABLOKO, was arrested at a peaceful picket in Moscow yesterday (13 April). Yabloko activists were demonstrating against a cement plant, demanding the authorities to close it down, as it poses a health risk to nearby residents. Despite YABLOKO having applied for permission to picket, police arrived at the scene claiming that YABLOKO lacked a valid permission. Following his arrest, Mr Mitrohkin was detained for more than 3 hours. Commenting on the events to LI news, Mitrohkin says: 'Such detentions of people coming to legal and permitted rallies and pickets have already formed a dangerous trend in Russia: we often witness unmotivated police violence in breaking peaceful rallies or pickets, filing of criminal cases against people who dare to criticise the governments or administrations or defend their civil rights. All this means further curbing of the freedom of speech and freedom of assembly in contrast to loud statements made by Russian top officials.' Sergei Mitrokhin now has to appear in court accused of participating in an unsanctioned picket.


LI President: "Now it is time to give Ouattara and the Ivoirians chance to rebuild their country"
Van Baalen: “The [Arab] democrats should be supported without red tape – now”
Sam Rainsy meets with liberals across Scandinavia
“The DA gets rid of corrupt politicians”, Zille tells voters in Johannesburg
Ignatieff impresses after English/French Debates
ALDE-PACE: Religious dimension of intercultural dialogue debated in Strasbourg

April 12, 2011

EU States continue to pass the buck over responsibility for North African migrants
Press Release, ALDE, April 12, 2011

As tension continues to mount over the treatment of migrants fleeing from North African countries, solidarity and respect for agreed rules amongst EU Member States appears to be falling apart. Remarks by Italian Interior Minister, Roberto Maroni at yesterday's JHA Council meeting in Luxembourg that Italy might leave the EU over the issue marks a new low in relations between Europe's Mediterranean countries who have been passing the buck over responsibility for processing the thousands of additional requests for entry visas for North African migrants...

April 11, 2011

Igor Artemyev congratulated Grigory Yavlinsky on his birthday

Kommersant, April 10, 2011.

On April 10 member of the Political Committee of the YABLOKO party Grigory Yavlinsky turns 59.

Here come congratulations to Grigory Yavlinsky from the head of the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service Igor Artemyev.

Dear Grigory Alexeyevich,
Please receive my heartiest congratulations on your birthday!
It is absolutely clear that our lives would have been different if we had not the opportunity to work and be friends with you. Your impeccable record as political and public figure serves as model for many people in this country and abroad. Having immense knowledge in the world economics and politics and great professional experience you manage to transfer these to other generations and implement your ideas. Let me on this day express my deep respect to you and let all your plans come true, also wishing you success, health and prosperity to you and your next of kin!

April 7, 2011

ALDE continues to push nuclear safety agenda
Press Release, ALDE, April 6, 2011

...Stressing that the consequences of a nuclear accident go beyond national borders and need to be tackled at a multinational level, Lena EK (Centre Party, Sweden), ALDE spokesperson for the Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE), said: "There is an obvious need for close cooperation, coordination and exchange of information within the EU and with neighbouring third countries. We need a strategy that goes beyond EU borders and that provides common standards guaranteeing a high level of nuclear safety..."

April 4, 2011

China: Liberals call for release of Ai Weiwei
Press Release, ALDE, April 4, 2011

Ai Weiwei, a vocal critic of the Chinese regime who is best known for designing Beijing's Bird's Nest Olympic stadium and the current 'sunflower seed' installation in London's Tate Modern, was detained in Beijing yesterday and remains unreachable since being held by Chinese authorities at the capital's airport...

Combating populism and extremism across the European Union
Press Release, ALDE, March 30, 2011

Addressing a Liberal and Democrat conference today in Brussels, Guy Verhofstadt warned against retreating into a "nationalist air-raid shelter" and called for society to adapt to the new multi-polar world whilst turning the process of globalisation into a positive rather than negative concept, developing humane and sustainable migration policies and remaining true to the open society...

March 30, 2011

YABLOKO organises rally against United Russia
LI News Bulletin, Issue 225, March 25, 2011

YABLOKO (LI full member) last week organised a rally in Izhevsk, Udmurtia, against the ruling party United Russia, attracting a crowd of 1,200 people. In his speech at the rally YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin claimed that United Russia is taking advantage of the Russian population for its own financial gain. “We do not have a choice — either we let them to steal everything here, or we will return our country back to us,” Mitrokhin said. He concluded that: “However, the fault here lies on us, rather than on the United Russia party, because, it is us who allow to do all this to us and seems that we do not have self-respect as a nation.”


Van Baalen’s call for a no-fly zone implemented over Libya
LI President calls on liberal leaders worldwide to offer Japan assistance
Egypt votes ‘yes’ to constitutional reforms – liberals remain sceptical
Spanish liberals rally before local elections
Foreign policy discussed at Folkpartiet’s national congress in Gothenburg
DPP takes firm anti-nuclear stance following the situation in Japan
Sam Rainsy stripped of his parliamentary seat

March 23, 2011

European Liberal Democrats call for bold action on North Africa
ELDR Press Release, March 21, 2011.

The EU should use a three-way approach: peace, trade and aid Meeting in Madrid, Spain, the Leadership of the ELDR Party has discussed the situation in the Arab World and calls for three main points in Euro-Arab relations following the UN Security Council's meeting yesterday (17 March 2011)...

March 17, 2011

“All parties should have the equal right to participate”, says YABLOKO leader after elections
LI News Bulletin, Issue 224, March 17, 2011

“The YABLOKO party has constantly been facing arbitrary rule and politically biased violation of its rights at elections of all levels for many years already”, YABLOKO leader (LI full member) Sergei Mitrokhin comments in the wake of the Russian regional elections which took place last Sunday. Local election officials banned over 45 percent of the candidates nominated by the YABLOKO party, compared with 0.8 percent for the ruling United Russia, which on average won about 50 percent of votes. “The most wide spread techniques are those targeted at ousting the party from elections already at the stage of registration at election campaigns… YABLOKO insists that all the political parties should have equal rights to participate in the elections without any preliminary requirements”, Mitrokhin further said. According to YABLOKO, the election day again revealed much fraud, such as compulsion of public servants to vote for the ruling party, bribing of voters and mass-scale ballot-stuffing. YABLOKO will apply to courts arguing the elections results and the violations...


LI President joins call for further support of Gadaffi opposition
Ouattara outlines steps towards peaceful resolution of Ivorian Crisis
LDP Macedonia Congress calls for zero profit tax for companies
Liberal Democrats gather in unprecedented numbers at Spring Conference
LI members in Egypt call for NO vote on new Constitution
Asian liberals discuss strategic campaigning in Bangkok
LI Past President Lord Steel speaks on the Middle East Peace Process
Draft program and deadlines for the 57th Liberal International Congress in Manila
Hungary’s changes to media law are “not enough”, say liberal MEP’s

YABLOKO arranges international conference devoted to gender equality in Moscow

ELDR Press Release, March 16, 2011.

YABLOKO's founder Grigory Yavlinsky stressed that Russia lacked equality of citizens before the law, not to mention gender equality. Speaking about the gender equality he stressed the following: "There is a law submitted to the Russian parliament and targeted at hampering gender discrimination. The law was submitted in 1995. However, it was not examined and the parliament did not want to adopt it. This is an issue of political culture and the policies."

Yavlinsky also stated that the key problems Russia's women have to face now was home violence and economic discrimination. "That is why we are ranked 55th in the world as of gender equality and 99th as of women's participation in politics. Women's wages in Russia are normally only 60-70 per cent of men's wages," he noted...

Verhofstadt on Libya: "The weak position of the EU makes me sick"
Press Release, ALDE, March 16, 2011

The fall-out from the Japanese tsunami has inevitably dominated media reports and blurred international attention to the rout of the Libyan opposition, left to fend off Gaddafi and his mercenaries by themselves. Today at a meeting in Parliament to assess the results of last week's European Council, Guy Verhofstadt denounced the inability of the EU to take decisive action on the Libyan crisis. "This makes me sick," he declared...

European Liberals express whole-hearted sympathy for affected people in Japan
ELDR Press Release, March 14, 2011

European Liberal Democrats extend their whole-hearted condolences to people residing in Japan following the saddening developments reported over the weekend, when the country suffered both an earthquake and a tsunami, resulting in vast devastation and enormous loss of both life and personal belongings...

March 15, 2011

Russian Opposition Leaders Give Details Of Meeting With US Vice President

Interfax, March 10, 2011.

...Grigoriy Yavlinskiy discussed with Biden the prospects of setting up joint Russian-NATO missile defence, and the internal political situation in the Russian Federation, the Yabloko press service has told Interfax.
"Yavlinskiy regards joint missile defence as the most substantial and promising aspect of Russian-US security cooperation, which is importance not only for the two countries but for the whole world," Yabloko press secretary Igor Yakovlev said.
Touching upon the internal political situation in Russia, the former party leader said that its main difficulties, including the lack of vital democratic procedures, had long been known. In this context, he believes that it is important to realize that the issue that has to be tackled is the replacement of the system created back in the 1990s, and this is a much more complex and in-depth process than the change of personalities in power...

March 11, 2011

Yabloko demands investigation of unlawful detention of its activists
LI News Bulletin, Issue 223, March 11, 2011

LI full member YABLOKO is outraged by the treatment of its activists in the North Caucasus, who were unlawfully detained on 28 February while protesting against the deforestation of a public area of protected trees, where recreational cottages have been built for the Governor of Krasnodar Krai. Last week, three of the jailed activists went on a hunger strike to protest the unjust verdict of imprisonment and the dire conditions of detention. YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin said that the cells in which the detainees were held were unlit and had poor sanitary facilities. He further commented: 'The police broke not only Russian law, but also inner normative acts of the interior, protecting unlawfully constructed cottages. Moreover the police actions against peaceful citizens were tough and violent.' YABLOKO has conducted numerous actions of support and forwarded letters to the Public Prosecutor and the Interior Minister demanding them to investigate the actions of the police and the regional authorities, but has yet to receive a response. The activists have now been released...

March 10, 2011

Three lessons from North Africa by Graham Watson MEP

March 10, 2011.

Three lessons can be learned from the popular democratic uprisings which should inform our policy from now on.

The first is that it is no good preaching the values of democracy if we arm its enemies. Having armed Gadhafi and other autocrats there is a logical case to be made for arming the protesters, particularly if we fail to live up to the ‘duty to protect’ laid down in the UN Charter: but this policy should be pursued only in extremis. Most important, however, is to stop arms sales to autocratic regimes wherever they are: democracy’s appeal is not limited to north Africa, nor the temptation to beleaguered autocrats to use arms against their own people...

EU must recognise legitimacy of Libyan Interim Council
Press Release, ALDE, March 10, 2010

The ALDE Group arranged for two senior members of the National Interim Council of Libya to come to Strasbourg this week to hear directly from them what should be done to support those fighting for freedom and democracy in Libya. Dr. Ali A. S . Al-Issawi and Dr. Mahmoud Gebril Elwarfally were appointed Ministers of the National Interim Council last weekend. Dr Al-Issawi was Libya's Ambassador to India until his resignation in February in protest of the attacks by Gaddafi on the Libyan protesters...

March 9, 2011

ELDR – believing in a gender equal society
ELDR News, March 8, 2011

Over the years, ELDR has adopted many resolutions that aim to a fairer society which notices many of the structural indifferences leading to different opportunities for the different sexes. For today's Centenary of the International Women's Day, here are ELDR's adopted positions on gender issues. European Liberal Democrats believe in equal rights and opportunities for both women and men with the active support of society, as the whole of society benefits when women and men can contribute on equal terms...

Election success for Estonian Liberals
ELDR News, March 7, 2011

ELDR's Estonian member parties; Reform Party and Centre Party both achieved very good results in Sunday's general election with a combined score of over 50% of the public vote.

Reform Party polled 28.6% of the votes which is enough to see the party win 33 seats in the 101 seat parliament and retain their position as the leading party in government. Reform Party is set to return to coalition with the conservatives, as was the case in the last parliament, with Andrus Ansip, leader of Reform Party, remaining as prime minister.

This would mean that the Centre Party, which scored an impressive 23.3% and returns with 26 MPs, would be the strongest opposition party...

March 5, 2011

Are Prisoners of Conscience Only in Moscow?

Boris Vishnevsky’s blog at the Ekho Moskvy web-site, March 5, 2011.

...According to Achilov, virtually all the prisoners rights were violated in this prison: right to a walk, right to have bedclothes, to use toilet, to receive parcels from families and so on. The night of their arrest they were not even allowed to have water and call a doctor. The cells, according to Achilov, "remind of Inquisition dungeons”, they are dark, without artificial or natural light, the prisoners are not allowed to use toilet even in the morning, food is disgusting (despite statements made [by the authorities] that RUR 400 [USD 13] are allotted for maintenance of each prisoner per day). Now, according to Achilov, Dmitry Shevchenko is running high temperature (38 degrees), he is coughing typically of pneumonia, and Gazaryan has approximately the same high temperature too. Protesting against such conditions of detention and unjust verdict of imprisonment Gazaryan, Shevchenko and Vitishko went on a hunger strike; whereas there is no doctor in this jail...

When Boris Nemtsov, Ilya Yashin and Konstantine Kosyakin were detained at Triumphalnaya square in Moscow on New Year's Eve, and court sentenced them to an unlawful arrest from 5 to 15 days, a huge number of people spoke in their defence, whereas YABLOKO’s leaders were among the first to protest against this arrest...

However, the conditions in which my friends and colleagues from YABLOKO held in the Tuapse jail are many times worse and more humiliating than those the aforementioned "Moscow prisoners" were in. But no one hurries to recognise Gazaryan, or Shevchenko, or Vitishko a "prisoner of conscience." No prominent public or political figures speak in their defence. Their arrest does not outrage U.S. senators and European parliamentarians. Finally, we do not hear anything about public speeches by Nemtsov or Yashin on this topic. Maybe I have missed something. Or maybe they are silent because its will be improper after this to habitually claim that YABLOKO in contrast to them is “not an opposition”?..

YABLOKO - Aktivisten inhaftiert. Liberales Forum.

Redaktion, 28.02.2011

Vier Aktivisten der liberalen Oppositionspartei YABLOKO und der NGO Environmental Watch of the Northern Caucasus wurden am Sonntag, den 28. Februar 2011, in einem Areal, genannt „Tkachyov Datscha“, des Gouverneurs Alexander Tkachyov von Krasnodar verhaftet.

„Tkachyov Datscha“ ist die informelle Bezeichnung eines exklusiven Erholunskomplexes, erbaut für den Gouverneur des Krasnodar Gebietes am Schwarzen Meer in der Blauen Bucht...

March 4, 2011

Half of Yabloko Nominees Banned

The Moscow Times, March 4, 2011.

Local election officials have banned about 45 percent of the candidates nominated by the liberal Yabloko party for the March regional elections, compared with 0.8 percent for the ruling United Russia, Kommersant reported Thursday...

the original publication in the MT

Friendly Oligarch Buys 'Putin' Palace

The Moscow Times, March 4, 2011.

...The unfinished mansion has been at the center of tabloid controversy since last December, when businessman Sergei Kolesnikov claimed that state funds were being diverted to build a personal palace for the prime minister...

Last month, Environment Watch North Caucasus, a local green group that says the complex was illegally built on publicly owned forestland, got close enough to the site to take more photos before being detained by the Federal Guard Service...

Last Sunday, about 20 Environment Watch and Yabloko activists held a "protest picnic" at a comparatively modest four-story brick structure they say is being built for Krasnodar region Governor Alexander Tkachyov.

"We found dozens of violations. First of all, it is partially built on forestland; then it violates the Water Code by blocking off free access to the shore," said Andrei Filimonov, deputy coordinator of Environment Watch, who was at the protests. They also found evidence of the felling of endangered Pitsunda pines, he said...

On Wednesday, the four went on a hunger strike to protest the conditions they are being held in...

Liberals call for further international action on Libya
LI News Bulletin No 222, March 3, 2011

LI President Hans van Baalen MEP has released a statement calling on the UN Security Council to enforce a no-fly-zone above Libya in order to prevent Colonel Gaddafi from turning military assets against his own people. He also stated that Egypt, a country he visited last week, should be supported in its willingness to lead a humanitarian mission into Libya. The UN, EU and individual countries have imposed sanctions such as an asset freeze and travel ban on Gaddafi's regime. Commenting on the international sanctions thus far, Italian Senator Emma Bonino (Radicali Italiani, LI full member), said: “As usual, it's too little, too late.” Ms Bonino is also a strong advocate of a no-fly zone. German Foreign minister Guido Westerwelle, leader of LI full member the Freie Demokratische Partei, on Tuesday brought forth the idea of appointing a United Nations special envoy for Libya, in Libya: “We need a special envoy to allow the international community to mark its presence and to evaluate and coordinate humanitarian efforts,” he said.


Van Baalen - Verhofstadt visit to Cairo gives strong support to democracy in Egypt and Arab world
LI gathers actors to discuss priorities in development work
UN launches powerful new agent for progress on gender equality
Liberals win the Dutch regional and Senate elections
South Africa’s Shadow Trade Minister visits the LI secretariat
LPC’s Ignatieff speaks to families across the country
Role of political parties in divided societies discussed at FNF-NDI event in Bangkok

February 28, 2011

Liberals call for EU Marshall Plan for new Arab democracies

Press Release, ALDE, February 28, 2010

Following a weekend visit to Cairo, Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE group leader), Edward McMillan-Scott (Lib Dem, UK) and Hans Van Baalen (VVD, Netherlands and President of Liberal International) are urging the European Union to develop a comprehensive action plan for support and investment in North Africa as a concrete way to bolster support for the new democracy movements spreading across the region...

February 25, 2011

YABLOKO welcomes European resolution on rule of law in Russia
LI News Bulletin, Issue 221, February 25, 2011

Following an initiative by ALDE, the European Parliament last week adopted a resolution on the rule of law in Russia. Guy Verhofstadt MEP and Kristiina Ojuland MEP wrote an open letter to President Putin outlining ALDE's paragraph in the resolution, and stating: “Russia is an important neighbour and has a duty, through its commitments as a member of the Council of Europe, to live up to European standards of democracy, fundamental rights and the Rule of Law”. LI full member YABLOKO welcomes these efforts to facilitate the establishment of the rule of law in their country and develop partner relations between the EU and Russia. “We have always advocated the view that the work should be based on universal human liberal values, rather than Realpolitik. Only on this basis can we build a democratic law-governed state, and create a sustainable competitive partnership between the EU and Russia. The discussion in the European Parliament demonstrates that increasingly more European politicians have begun sharing this approach”, says YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin...


Van Baalen: Gadaffi no longer legitimate leader of Libya
LI President raises concern over situation in Burundi
FDP’s in success Hamburg elections grants it re-entry to state parliament
Central American liberal leaders visit Germany
Political violence shakes Côte d’Ivoire
Wave of protests reaches Morocco
SLS’s Petrovic becomes Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo

February 24, 2011

A letter by ALDE to Russian Prime Minister Putin

February 24, 2010
Dear Prime Minister Putin,

The ALDE group secured a paragraph in the resolution adopted by the European Parliament last week on Russia, reminding “the Council and the High Representative of the full array of appropriate measures that may be used when faced with systematic human rights abuses and failures to uphold the rule of law”...

February 23, 2011

ELDR congratulates new Liberal President of Kosovo

ELDR News, February 23, 2011

Yesterday, on Tuesday 22 February 2011, ELDR Member Party Alliance for a New Kosovo (AKR) Party Leader Behgjet Pacolli was elected President of the Republic of Kosovo by the newly assembled Kosovo Parliament, following the decision by AKR to join the coalition government led by Prime Minister Hashim Thaci’s Democratic Party PDK. In this coalition, AKR will also gain the posts of Deputy Prime Minister and three Ministries: Mimoza Kusari Lila will become Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry, Ferid Agani Minister of Health and Agim Ceku Minister of Defence...

February 22, 2011

General election in Ireland: "the most important in a generation"
ELDR News, February 22, 2011

This Friday (25 February) Irish citizens will go to the polls to elect a new parliament and government. Ahead of the election, Micheál Martin, leader of ELDR member Fianna Fáil, has written an article for the ELDR Party about the current political landscape in Ireland and what Fianna Fail's priorities are for the next parliamentary term...

Also: Estonian elections.
The Estonian Parliamentary elections will be held on 6 March, and ELDR Member Parties Reformierakond (Reform Party) and Keskerakond (Centre Party) will be playing central roles...

February 21, 2011

LI Presidential statement on the resignation of Egyptian President Mubarak
LI Presidential Statement, February 12, 2011

Following the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on 11 February, LI President Hans van Baalen MEP issued the following statement:

“Liberal International applauds the fact that President Mubarak has resigned. It is our steadfast hope that this change will bring about a democratic transitional government ahead of the upcoming elections in the autumn. Liberal International encourages all liberals and democrats who desire an Egypt that holds democracy and the rule of law as paramount values to especially support Dr. Osama Harb [leader of LI-Full member the Democratic front Party] and Ayman Nour [leader of LI-Observer El-Ghad] and all others who are dedicated to a free, fair and democratic Egypt.”

MORE LI News Bulletin No 220, February 18, 2011

February 11, 2011

YABLOKO’s candidates withdrawn from regional elections
LI News Bulletin No 219, February 11, 2011

LI full member YABLOKO is conducting protest actions in reaction to the withdrawal of YABLOKO's candidates from regional elections in Russia, scheduled for March 2011... YABLOKO party leader Sergei Mitrokhin says that recent statements by President Medvedev's that “the political system has become more just and there has been less criticism of the electoral process” does not reflect the real situation...


Van Baalen calls for liberal unity in Africa
ALDEPAC convenes in Djibouti to discuss security and piracy
LI, FNF and FDP discuss MENA developments
57th LI Congress presented at media event in Manila
Romania’s opposition unites under liberal leadership
DA is becoming a threat to the ruling party, Helen Zille says
¦SDP reaches fundraising goal to keep Dr Chee Soon Juan out of prison

February 9, 2011

Russia can never modernise without a liberal society based on the rule of law - Verhofstadt

Press Release, ALDE, February 9, 2010

...Opening the seminar, ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt said:
"Russia will always be an important neighbour and strategic partner for the EU. But we shall not be silent when violations of human rights and the rule of law are common place. Our commitment is to the Russian people, who deserve better.
"Council of Europe, OSCE or WTO membership entails obligations. For a serious international player that Russia aspires to be, meeting international commitments is paramount.
"Russian authorities would be well advised to pursue a more liberal agenda. This means introducing true competition, guaranteeing political freedoms, distinguishing between oligarchs and politicians, and most importantly adhering to the rule of law.
"Modernisation of Russia will only be successful if this liberal agenda is first put into practice. Building on the current flawed economic and political system will lead to nothing."

Kriistina Ojuland MEP (ALDE, Estonian Reform Party), former Foreign Minister of Estonia and ALDE spokesperson on EU Russian relations, said:
"We believe that a modernisation of Russia should not only entail economic and market reforms but also calls for greater democracy, political freedoms, and respect for human rights and the rule of law.
"I welcome the European Parliament's initiative to establish an early monitoring group in order to observe the preparations of the forthcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.
"I would very much welcome a prompt resolution by the European parliament on the situation regarding the rule of law in Russia."

February 7, 2011

Bourgoisie against Oligarchy
How to build a modern democracy in Russia (a complete version). Novaya Gazeta, January 20, 2011.
By Sergei Mitrokhin, Chairman of the YABLOKO party.

...Russia’s "special way" goes past the stage of historical development, which is in charge of forming of the great triad of Western modernisation: the bourgeoisie – civil society - the rule of law.

The bourgeoisie more than any other social groups has been interested in the establishment of such fundamental principles of the modern Western society as equality of all before law, individual freedom, freedom of entrepreneurship, etc., that created the conditions for a huge leap in the development made by the Western world...

January 31, 2011

Verhofstadt critical of weak statements by EU leaders on Egypt

Press Release, ALDE, January 31, 2010

As the situation on the streets of Egyptian cities continues to develop rapidly, western diplomatic services and European leaders are struggling to find a position. Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the Liberal group in the European Parliament insists that Parliament request the EU High Representative to address the latest developments in her intervention this week in Parliament.
"The EU needs to keep up with events. The situation on the ground in Egypt is dramatic and evolving rapidly. The European Union must urgently formulate a coherent message that lays out concrete steps to encourage a transition to pluralist democracy and respect for fundamental freedoms in the country. It is no good sitting on the fence and waiting to see whether the regime will prevail over the will of the people. However this is exactly what European leaders are doing right now"...

January 28, 2011

Liberal leaders speak out against Moscow Airport Bombings

LI News Bulletin No 217, January 28, 2011

Following the Moscow airport bombings, world liberal leaders have spoken out against the attacks. On behalf of the LI President, LI Secretary General Emil Kirjas expressed hope that “the perpetrators will be found and brought to justice”, further expressing the desire that “…Russian state policies become more democratic and tolerant so that everyone, including those from the marginalized communities can feel included and supported by the state.” German Vice Chancellor Guido Westerwelle characterised the attacks as “barbaric” and “condemned [the] callous attack in the strongest terms.” Michael Ignatieff, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) expressed his deepest sympathies on behalf of the LPC and stated that: “This senseless act of violence reminds us that these attacks can occur anywhere, and we must remain vigilant against those who threaten terrorism to our own citizens at home and abroad.” On behalf of the ALDE group in the European Parliament, Kristiina Ojuland, co-rapporteur of the European Parliament on Russia expressed her condolences to all the victims and the relatives of the casualties.


“Egypt should learn from Tunisia’s mistakes” – says LI President
"LI recommits to combatting ignorance and hate against gay people", says Minoves
Ouattara calls for export ban to increase pressure on Gbagbo
Alliance Party is bringing about real change, says leader David Ford
Strong liberal presence at UK Nordic Baltic Summit
Liberals Call for EU Mediator to Address Violent Revolts in Albania
Reminder for the LI Prize for Freedom 2011 nominations
President Aquino new chairman of the Liberal Party - Online only
Human rights central at EU-Uzbek meeting - Online only

Deputy head of Yabloko branch severely injured in attack
LI News Bulletin No 216, January 21, 2011

Deputy head of the Bashkirian branch of LI full member Yabloko, Damir Garifullin, has been hospitalised following an attack on 17 January which left him severely injured. According to Sergei Naumkin, Head of Bashkirian Yabloko, “on January 6, 2011, Damir was registered as a candidate to the deputies of the State Assembly of the Republic of Bashkortostan. In view of this we think that the investigators should not rule out the version that someone was trying to remove an undesirable candidate to the legislative body of the republic in such a way.” Damir was involved in all areas that his Yabloko branch is working in, and reportedly various people from the local government as well as from law enforcement bodies had expressed their dissatisfaction with Damir. Naumkin also called the government and the head of the Republic to conduct an unbiased investigation of this attack and punish the guilty. Yabloko leader Sergei Mitrokhin is also filing applications to the Public Prosecutor General and head of the Investigation Committee.


¦New Tunisian government “not a government of unity”, says LI President
¦Tunisia's uprising and politics in the Arab World
¦Serbia firmly on the EU course, says LI VP Kacin
¦Westerwelle calls for acceptance of referendum results in Southern Sudan
¦Media Law out of line with EU Regulations, say Verhofstadt and Kroes
¦Ncube elected leader of MDC in Zimbabwe
¦LI announces 2011 Manila Congress: 16-19 June

January 21, 2011

The time has come to act on Belarus

Press Release, ALDE, January 21, 2010

Commenting on the European Parliament's strong condemnation of the brutal oppression of opposition and civil society in Belarus in the aftermath of the presidential elections in December, ALDE MEP Kristiina Ojuland (Estonian Reform Party, Estonia) said: "Today the European Parliament is sending a strong message of support to the people of Belarus, demanding the immediate and unconditional release of all political detainees and an immediate stop to all forms of harassment and threats against members of the protesting public...

January 19, 2011

Verhofstadt welcomes prompt Commission action on media law

Press Release, ALDE, January 18, 2010

"When EU core values, like freedom of media, are at stake there is no time to lose before taking action. We have asked the Commission to act promptly to ensure freedom of media in Hungary, under threat by the newly adopted Media law and the Commission has given us today a first assurance," said ALDE Leader Guy Verhofstadt, welcoming Barroso's declared intention, during today's question time with the President of the Commission, to send a letter to the Hungarian government this week indicating the crucial points of the Media Law that Hungary should change...

January 14, 2011

Joint Statement by ALDE, ALDE-PACE, ELDR and Liberal International on sitution after elections in Belarus

January 13, 2011

Liberals in Europe and worldwide have closed ranks to make a strong call upon the Belarusian government to release all journalists, opposition candidates and civil society representatives who face continued detention.
For liberal parties and their representatives in the European and national parliaments the brutal repression of the peaceful demonstrations following the presidential elections on 19 December 2010 is completely unacceptable...

The sentence to Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev is unlawful and should be aborgated

Interfax, December 30, 2010

Moscow, December 30, 2010. INTERFAX. Grigory Yavlinsky, member of Political Committee of the Russian United Democratic Party YABLOKO, supports the statement of the party in connection with a sentence to Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev and considers the verdict by the court unlawful and subject to revision.

“I completely share YABLOKO’s position as put down in the today’s statement by the party. The sentence to Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev comes from a political decision, adopted outside court, therefore this verdict is unlawful and should be abrogated,” stressed Grigory Yavlinsky.

“The YUKOS case is an instrument for intimidation of the Russian business,” he said...

January 13, 2011

The Politics and Business of Going Green
By Roland Oliphant

The Moscow Times, January 12, 2011

This year will see increasingly politicized environmental movements sprouting up around local issues, and an alliance between green groups and businessmen to open up Russia's potential in renewable energy — provided there are no more fires...

Protesters failed to close the Baikal paper mill and a government-appointed commission gave the Khimki highway project the go ahead in December. But the public outcry over both “put regional environmental problems on the federal agenda,” said Alexei Yablokov, who heads the Yabloko party's green wing.

That puts single-issue pressure groups in the peculiar position of being disillusioned with their current tactics, but in a strong position to open a new front: the overtly political.

“We're expecting a strengthening and greater politicization of the green movement in 2011,” Yablokov said in e-mailed comments. “Groups that previously avoided politics have come to understand that, without political decisions, nothing gets done, laws don't work”...

the original publication in the Moscow Times

Whereabouts of $4Bln Is Classified
By Khristina Narizhnaya

The Moscow Times, January 13, 2011

The protection of "strategic interests, defense capability and state security" is the reason now given by the Audit Chamber for classifying the results of its 2008 investigation into the alleged $4 billion worth of financial violations by state-owned Transneft...

Mitrokhin requested records from the Audit Chamber after Navalny published reports accusing Transneft of stealing $4 billion. The disclosure on the Internet created a sensation, with scores of bloggers filing online complaints to the chamber and the Prosecutor General's Office, demanding an investigation into the alleged wrongdoings...


January 11, 2011

European liberals deeply concerned by developments in Belarus and Russia
Press Release, ELDR, January 10, 2010

The liberal forces of Europe strongly deplore the dismal developments on human rights in parts of Europe during the past couple of weeks. Beginning with Belarus; what could be perceived on the outset as slight progress in allowing several candidates to run against Aleksander Lukashenko in the Presidential elections soon turned into the direct opposite...

Moving on to Russia; not only are there fundamental reasons to question the sentence of Mikhail Khodorkovsky to an additional six years of imprisonment - but European Liberals are also critical of the current state of human rights and freedom of assembly in Russia. The day after the Khodorkovsky sentence, opposition party leader Boris Nemtsov was detained together with 130 others in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and had to spend 15 days in prison for "disobedience of police", a token sentence that runs against the right of freedom of speech and assembly, one of the cornerstones of the European system which is also deeply embedded in the statutes of the Council of Europe, to which Russia is member...

2011 European Year of Volunteering: "a small investment can deliver significant benefits"
Press Release, ALDE, January 10, 2010

Following an original proposal in 2009 by Marian Harkin, MEP (Independent, Ireland), 2011 was designated as the European Year of Volunteering and was formally launched in Budapest this weekend by European Commissioner Viviane Reding and the Hungarian State President Pal Schmitt.

Project Director: Vyacheslav Erohin e-mail: admin@yabloko.ru Director: Olga Radayeva, e-mail: english@yabloko.ru

Administrator: Vlad Smirnov, e-mail: vladislav.smirnov@yabloko.ru